The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Changes coming for Christian initiation

Updated terminology and translation on the way after Rome approves

Published: April 6, 2023   
Jeff Hines

New English and Spanish translations of the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (“Ritual para la Iniciación cristiana de adultos” in Spanish) are in the final stages of review by the Vatican Dicastery for Divine Worship in Rome.

The current U.S. edition of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults was released in 1988, along with the corresponding Spanish translation. This 1988 edition is still in effect. It is not to be replaced until Rome issues the official confirmation of the new translations. 

When that happens, the Vatican will notify Bishop Anthony B. Taylor and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who will in turn notify the parish priests through Father Juan Guido, director of the Office of Divine Worship for the Diocese of Little Rock.

The USCCB submitted the new translations to Rome in November 2021. Nick Wagner and Diana Macalintal of TeamRCIA estimate that the Dicastery of Divine Worship in Rome will issue their official confirmation sometime in 2023. 

When that happens, if the recent retranslation of the Order of Penance is any indication, dioceses can expect to have one year from the time the new translation is confirmed in Rome until it is required to use it in parishes.  (The new Order of Penance was confirmed in April 2022, with the deadline for implementation set for April 2023.)  Therefore, the diocese may expect to begin using the new translations sometime after Easter 2024.

What is changing?

The USCCB Committee on Divine Worship said the most notable change is to clarify that the term “candidate” refers only to those who are already baptized, and terms such as “inquirer,” “entrant,” “catechumen” and “elect” are used for those preparing for baptism.

They have added rubrics and prayers for the baptism of an infant at the Easter Vigil, which has always been allowed but was not stated in the 1988 edition.

To emphasize what is not changing, they said, “The paragraph numbers of this new edition follow the paragraph numbers of the current edition exactly.”

The Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions ( and shared some of the new English translation with their members in recent webinars.

• The new title is Order of Christian Initiation of Adults.

• The Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens is renamed the Rite of Entrance into the Catechumenate.

Todd Williamson from the FDLC said, “The vast majority of changes are in terminology and the translation itself. There are no significant changes to the rites, the order, the process.”

Williamson, who is also the director of the Office of Divine Worship for the Archdiocese of Chicago, stressed, “This revised translation is an absolute ‘golden moment’ for all of us to capitalize, to reenergize, to renew this ministry (of evangelism) in our parishes.”

Everyone in the Church is called to share Jesus with others and invite them into a life-changing relationship with him in their everyday life and through the sacraments. The Order of Christian Initiation of Adults and the Ritual para la Iniciación cristiana de adultos will tell us how to do it.

Jeff HInes is the diocese’s faith formation director.

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