The Rite of Acceptance Dec 16 at SHC
By Agnes Chai
Dec 17 2020
KARAMUNSING – With the clearance to reopen the church/parish after a quarantine order expired, Sacred Heart Cathedral parish lost no time to officially welcome candidates into the Order of Catechumens during the Rite of Acceptance Dec 16.
A total of 74 “enquirers” comprising of 52 BM speaking, 13 English speaking and 9 Chinese speaking made the decision to begin the process of becoming a member of the Catholic Church through baptism after the initial period of discernment.
The Rite of Acceptance is the first of the “threshold rites” of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), and the first public ritual. In the Rite of Acceptance, those previously known as “enquirers” become catechumens. They are literally marked with the cross of Christ as God’s own.
To help slow the spread of COVID-19, the ritual was carried out under strict compliance of the SOP protocol. Instead of welcoming the candidates into the church at the doors, the entire ritual was conducted inside the church observing social distancing.
The parish also replaced the separate rituals for the different languages (English, BM and Chinese) and instead combined them into a single one. Only the sponsors and the RCIA service team were allowed to be present.
During the simplified ritual of the Signing of the Cross, parish priest Fr Paul Lo made a sign of the cross over the candidates from a distance, and they put on themselves the small crucifix prepared for them.
After the Readings and homily, the parish priest handed over the Bible to only one candidate, who represented the candidates so that the Bible would not be repeatedly touched by them.
Even with the ritual pared down, nothing could rob the candidates of the significance and seriousness of their “yes” as they allow themselves to become immersed into the mystery of Christ, a continual dying to self and rising to new life in Jesus.
Meanwhile, the parish has organized the first Confessions on Dec 21 for the neophytes who received their Sacraments of Initiation in July this year.