The Catholic University of America

 Diana Dudoit Raiche Defense

Final Examination of Diana Dudoit Raiche 

for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

January 12, 2011 at 1:00 p.m., Caldwell Room 125



Catherine Dooley, O.P., Ph.D.


Liturgical Catechesis as an Essential Dimension of Initiatory Catechesis in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults Adapted for Children

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) has been the normative document in the United States for the initiation of children of catechetical age since 1988, yet implementing the adapted rite, Part II, Chapter 1, has been problematic at the level of pastoral practice. Journey to the Fullness of Life: A Report on the Implementation of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults in the United States (USCC, 2000) documents significant challenges, such as, insufficient knowledge and implementation of the adapted rite, appropriate catechetical content, confirmation of child catechumens, and confusion between methods for initiatory and ongoing catechesis.   

This study explicates the meaning of initiatory and liturgical catechesis in the context of the liturgical catechetical renewal of the Vatican II era, tracing the semantic evolution in catechesis in magisterial catechetical documents and pastoral literature. The study analyzes initiatory and liturgical catechesis in relation to the pastoral introductions and rituals in the adapted rite of the 1988 RCIA, which is an adaptation of the normative vision of RCIA Part I, a much fuller expression of the Church’s vision of initiatory catechesis. The study analyzes for the first time the adapted rituals in relation to the rituals for adults using an integral, tripartite liturgical catechesis methodology of preparation for, celebration of, and reflection on the rites of the catechumenate. This analysis demonstrates a liturgical catechesis as initiatory, informed by the ancient catechumenate, and demanded by the lex orandi, lex credendi of the adapted rite for children. The formative value of liturgy complements catechesis integral to the adapted rite and demonstrates that a tripartite, liturgical catechesis method is constitutive for initiatory catechesis. The study concludes that liturgical catechesis is an essential dimension of initiatory catechesis in the RCIA adapted for children and necessary to effect comprehensive catechesis that constitutes a process of formation and a school of faith, both of which are integral to the vision of the catechumenate.