Q: I am working with a couple who are getting married in April. It is a mixed marriage where the groom is a non-baptized “confessional” Christian. He was raised in the Baptist Church but never did get baptized. He still goes to church sporadically.
In going through marriage preparation, he began to open up to his fiancé about his desire that they have a marriage on equal footing and wanted to enter the Catholic Church. He has talked with me about this and is earnestly asking to be catechized for this purpose. He does have a background in the Protestant tradition, prays regularly and knows the Scripture fairly well from Sunday School, etc. He asked if there is any way that he might be able to enter the Church prior to their April marriage.
I would be more than happy to take him through a customized formation process, which I have done before with others on similar occasions. I wanted to get your perspective and see if it would be workable. If you think this would work, I will follow up with a formal request to you toward that end.
A: The RCIA permits adult baptisms apart from the Vigil, but it lists that permission as one that a bishop grants. So, a letter for permission would be appropriate.
Then you have two options for the liturgies:
*Do all the liturgies, though earlier than others would be celebrating them. After the man is accepted into the catechumenate with the appropriate rite, the bishop could give you permission to conduct the Rite of Election in January or February. After that, three Sundays would be designated for the scrutinies – in advance of the usual Sundays in Lent.
*Or, do the condensed version of the Rite found in Part II section 2 of the RCIA. That basically puts all the principal parts of the extended liturgical process into one ceremony.