A catechumen is a person who has expressed an interest in becoming Catholic and is preparing for baptism, confirmation and first communion. The catechumens in St Patrick’s Parish meet on two Sundays in the month and on one Monday evening in the month with their sponsors and catechists to reflect to reflect on Scripture and to learn about the Catholic faith.
Catechumens who are ready to take the step toward initiation at the Easter vigil celebrate the rite of election with the archbishop in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh on the first Sunday of Lent. They are joined by people from other parishes in the diocese who are also preparing for baptism.
The period of Lent becomes a time of deep reflection and immediate preparation for baptism, confirmation and first communion.
In the weeks and months after their initiation as full members of the Christian community the newly baptised continue their reflection with their sponsors and catechists on the on the significance of what it means to be Catholic.
This approach to the initiation, normative in the Catholic Church since 1966, is called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. For children who have reached the age of reason, the rite is suitably adapted to their level of understanding. It is hoped that in the future all adults and children of catechetical age preparing for baptism in St Patrick’s parish will be initiated according to this rite.