Rite for the Welcome of Catechumens

“Catechumen” is a word for someone who is being “catechized,” that is, being instructed in the Christian faith. In the ancient church, anyone who was new to the Christian faith was called a Catechumen, and would be instructed by regular attendance at worship and with other special instruction. The time of the Catechumenate varied. Instruction could last as long as the Catechumen needed.

In Lutheran tradition, Catechumens are students, usually in sixth, seventh or eighth grades, who are instructed in Luther’s Small Catechism. Instruction involves memorization of the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, Baptism, Keys and Confession, the Lord’s Supper and the Lord’s Prayer, along with the explanations (“What does this mean?”) along with selected Bible passages. 

Catechisms and Bibles (if they have not already been presented to the children) may be stacked on a table in front of the altar. The children gather around the table.

If this rite is used as its own service, the rite begins with the apostolic greeting. If used in the main divine service, the greeting is omitted, and the rite immediately follows the Prayer of the Church.

The grace of our Lord + Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.
And also with you.

Before his ascension, our Lord Jesus Christ said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and gather disciples from all nations by baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and by teaching them to keep all the instructions I have given you. And surely I am with you always until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

You have been baptized in God’s name, and have learned about God’s love for the world in your Sunday School (or Bible History) lessons. You are now ready to begin a study of the teachings of the Bible as summarized by Luther’s Small Catechism.

Do you wish to confess your faith in Jesus Christ, the faith into which you were baptized, in the Rite of confirmation?If so, answer “I do.”

Catechumens: I do.

Will you faithfully attend the services of God’s house, study the Scriptures and the catechism, and strive to lead a life worthy of your Christian calling? If so, answer “I will and I ask God to help me.”

Catechumens: I will and I ask God to help me.

Members of __________ congregation, will you support these young people with your prayers, be examples of faithfulness and righteousness, and encourage them that they may continue steadfast in faith and in communion with the Church? If so, answer “We will and we ask God to help us.”

Congregation: We will and we ask God to help us.

The minister places his hand on the Bibles and Catechisms and addresses the children:

Holy Scripture tells us: All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, well equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

So that the Word of God may be a lamp for your feet and a light for your path, we present these Bibles to you. Here is where God teaches us what he wants us to believe and do. Read the Scriptures so that the Word that is written with ink on paper may also be written in your hearts and minds, and be your guide for life, your comfort and your hope, in good times and in bad.

Receive also these catechisms. Here you will learn the truths of Scripture, and you will be taught “What does this mean?” that is, how to apply the truth of Scripture to your everyday life as you walk in the new life, given you by Christ.

The minister hands out the Bibles and Catechisms to the children.

Let us pray.

O Lord, holy Father, eternal God, let the way of your truth and of the knowledge of you be shown to your servants who live among the doubt and uncertainty in the darkness of this world. Open the eyes of their souls, that they may acknowledge you, the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and enjoy the fruit of confessing this faith both here and in the world to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

May the Word of the Lord give you wisdom.
May it bring joy to your heart and light to your eyes.
May it instruct you in the fear of the Lord,
and guide you in his truth. (from Psalm 19)
Amen.

Source: Prepared for A Collection of Prayers, 2019. Some elements adapted from “Acceptance of Catechumens,” which appeared in The Bride of Christ (see below).

Prayer is adapted from Ancient Collects and Other Prayers, William Bright, p. 125.3, Gregorian.

Scripture passages are quoted from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version. www.wartburgproject.org.

See also Rite for the Presentation of Bibles to Children.

A rite for the  acceptance of catechumens appeared in the liturgical magazine, The Bride of Christ, prepared by Rev. Eric Ash. We share his rite here with his permission. The rite above uses some elements from “Acceptance of Catechumens.”

Acceptance of Catechumens

Pastor: Do you desire to affirm your faith in Christ Jesus, the faith into which you were baptized, and receive the Rite of confirmation in the tradition of the Holy Christian Church at the proper time? If so, answer “I do.”

Catechumens: I do.

Pastor: Will you faithfully attend the services of God’s house, will you diligently study the Scriptures and the catechism, and will you strive to lead a life worthy of your Christian calling? If so, answer “I will and I ask God to help me.”

Catechumens: I will and I ask God to help me.

Pastor: I ask you, the congregation, will you support these young people with your prayers, will you be examples to them of faithfulness and righteousness, and will you care for them and help them in every way God gives you opportunity that they may continue in the covenant of their baptism and in communion with the Church? If so, answer “We will and we ask God to help us.”

Congregation: We will and we ask God to help us.

Pastor: You are hereby officially accepted as the catechumens of __________ Evangelical Lutheran Church. May God bless you as you prepare and study. Please accept these Bibles and these copies of Luther’s Small Catechism as aids to your study and as tokens of the affection this congregation bears toward you.

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, we give you thanks for these young people you have called to be your own. Bless them as they prepare to make an affirmation of their faith and strive to keep the commitments they have made this day. And bless this congregation as it strives to help all its young people grow into the full stature of Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

Rite for the Presentation of Bibles to Children

The Bibles may be stacked on a table in front of the altar. The children gather around the table.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said, “If you remain in my word, you are really my disciples. You will also know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)  and St. Paul wrote to Timothy, “From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15).

Our God has given us his holy Word, both to be our guide through life and to show us his good, gracious and saving will. It is in the Bible’s message of the gospel that we meet our Savior Jesus Christ, hear his Word, and come to know God as a compassionate and gracious Father.

Let us pray.

Blessed Lord, you have given us your Holy Scriptures for our learning. May we so hear them, read, learn, and take them to heart, that being strengthened and comforted by  your holy Word, we may cling to the blessed hope of everlasting life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Amen.

The minister places his hand on the Bibles and addresses the children:

So that this Word of God may be a lamp for your feet and a light for your path, we present these Bibles to you. Here is where God teaches us what he wants us to believe and do. Read the Scriptures so that the Word that is written with ink on paper may also be written in your hearts and minds, and be your guide for life, your comfort and your hope, in good times and in bad.

The minister hands the Bibles to the children.

May the Word of the Lord give you wisdom.
May it bring joy to your heart and light to your eyes.
May it instruct you in the fear of the Lord,
and guide you in his truth. (from Psalm 19)
Amen.

Source: Prepared for A Collection of Prayers, 2019

Scripture passages are quoted from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version. www.wartburgproject.org.

For more information on the Collect for the Word, “Blessed Lord, you have given us your holy Scriptures…” see https://acollectionofprayers.com/2016/06/20/collect-for-the-word/

See also Rite for the Welcome of Catechumens.

Seal and Preserve Your Testimony in Our Hearts

We thank you,wilhelm_loehe
Lord God, heavenly Father,
that you have taught us to know
the  chief parts of Christian truth.
Seal and preserve this testimony in our hearts
and preserve us from all errors,
so that we may remain steadfast in your fear and faith,
always rejoice in hope,
and finally obtain the goal of our faith,
the salvation of our souls;
through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, our Lord.
Amen.

Source: Freely modified from Liturgy for Christian Congregations of the Lutheran FaithWilhelm Löhe, 1902, p. 70-71, Order of Service for Catechization

 

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Thank You for Preserving Your Word

We thank you,wilhelm_loehe
Lord God, heavenly Father,
that you have preserved for us your holy Word,
and have built us up in your faith
by its mighty power.
Graciously forgive us
everything that we have done contrary to your Word.
Preserve among us this precious treasure,
that through its power
we may come to eternal life;
through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, our Lord.
Amen.

Source: Freely modified from Liturgy for Christian Congregations of the Lutheran FaithWilhelm Löhe, 1902, p. 70, Order of Service for Catechization

 

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