Q: For the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) there are three books/registers that our diocese requires parishes to maintain: the Register of Catechumens, the Book of the Elect, and a book for recording the names of baptized Christians who have been received into full communion in the Catholic Church. Our question is, is it just the name and date in each separate book?
A: This is a canonical question, not a liturgical one, so my expertise is limited.
I don’t see much legislation pertaining to the specifics of what should be recorded. You could consult Canon 877 §1 for the requirements for registering a baptism and back the information out from there. There’s a brief statement about recording baptisms also in “Christian Initiation: General Introduction” (#29), which you find in the beginning of the RCIA and the RBC. But canon 877 will be more helpful.
In my humble opinion, in the register of catechumens, I think it would be useful to record the names of the catechumens, their place and date of birth, sponsors, minister, and date of the Rite of Acceptance. The same data would be helpful to see in the Book of Reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church.
What to record in the Book of the Elect makes an interesting question because canon 878 says that in the case of baptism, the record is made at the parish within whose boundaries the baptism took place. Although very few priests do this, any emergency baptism he performs at a hospital should be reported to the parish within whose boundaries the hospital stands, and the official baptismal record is supposed to be kept there, not in his own parish (though it’d be a good idea to put a notation there indicating where the record can be found). The Rite of Election is taking place at the cathedral. By analogy, the cathedral should keep the records of the elect, not the parishes, even if the elect sign the book of the elect in the parish. Their signature doesn’t make them elect; the Rite of Election makes them elect. I don’t see any requirement about what to record, but the names of the elect, place and date of birth, the names of their godparents, and the name of the bishop or his representative would be good to see.
My two cents. But I concede that this is outside my field.