Vigil of Pentecost

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: We are initiating our elect and candidates for reception into full communion at the Vigil of Pentecost. In reading a recent answer of yours on this, I had additional questions. 

Can the paschal candle be placed by the font for this Mass even though we are still in Easter Time? While the candle is by the ambo during Easter Time, RCIA 568 B  mentions that  “unless, outside the Easter Vigil, [the candle] rests at the baptismal font..” Do you think the RCIA means regardless if in Easter Time or a time outside of Easter, the candle should or would be placed by the font whenever there is a baptism? Realizing this mass and other masses with baptisms are not the same as the Easter Vigil, would it be appropriate for the paschal candle to be carried in procession from the sanctuary to the font for a baptism during Easter Time when it is by the ambo? For baptisms during Easter Time we currently have a minister share a flame from the paschal candle by the ambo and walk it over to the font. It would make logistics easier if that wasn’t necessary. 

Is it safe to assume, even though the RCIA doesn’t say this, that the profession of faith done by the elect before baptism can also be addressed, at the same time, to the entire community as a renewal of baptismal promises? The Easter Vigil 49 seems to allow it and even 281 and 319 in the Order of Baptism of Children (within Mass) prescribes it that way. 

Along with an adult elect, we are also baptizing an infant at this same mass. I should also note we are doing the extended form of the Pentecost Vigil and using 3b (Mass beginning in the usual way). Do we still need to do the Rite of Receiving the Child that is normally done at the beginning of mass? Since we are celebrating baptisms, I assume the Penitential act is omitted from the mass regardless if the Reception of the child is not done? For the infant baptism, is it safe to follow 50 and 51 of the Easter Vigil (essentially, just use the OBC when it comes time to baptize the baby)?  Thank you for all you do.


A: In my opinion, yes, you may place the paschal candle by the font for this Mass, even though you are still in Easter Time, because baptisms will take place. The same argument applies to other baptisms you perform during Easter Time. The reason that the candle is moved from its place near the ambo to the font after Pentecost is precisely for the sake of baptisms. For funerals during Easter Time, you probably already move the paschal candle from its place by the ambo to the place near the coffin for the sake of the liturgy being celebrated. I think the same logic holds for celebrations of an Easter Time baptism, even during Mass.

It would not be appropriate to process with the paschal candle from the ambo to the font except at the Easter Vigil, the only mention of such a procession in the missal. The paragraph you’re quoting from the RCIA (568B) has no equivalent in the typical edition; the English translation is borrowing the rubric from the missal. (This sort of duplication will likely disappear with a new English translation of the RCIA)

Yes to your question about having members of the assembly renew their baptismal promises together with the candidates. The anomaly here is that this only appears in the combined rite. When you have just the Rite of Reception by itself, the candidates recite the Nicene Creed together with the assembly. Justification for doing the renewal of promises together with the candidates can come from an analogy to that ritual as well. I don’t advise substituting the renewal of promises with the Creed on this occasion, even though the Rite of Reception itself says that the Nicene Creed is always used in the ceremony (RCIA 491), because this liturgy also includes baptism, and the community generally renews its baptismal promises on such an occasion.

Regarding the rites for children, the first mention of them at the Easter Vigil is 49, in the ceremonies leading immediately up to their baptism. But the Order of Baptism of Children 28 gives more instructions. The reception of the child is to take place before the Vigil at a convenient time and place. It does not actually require the same day as the Easter Vigil, but that is probably implied.

This case is different, though, because the opening rites of the Pentecost Vigil are not nearly as complex as the opening rites for the Easter Vigil. You could easily do the reception of the child in place of the penitential act as you would at any Sunday mass involving an infant baptism.

For baptizing, you do indeed take guidance from the Missal’s presentation of the Easter Vigil at 50 & 51, but also from 49. You’ll notice a discrepancy in reference to handing on the candle. OBC 28 says it is omitted, but RM 51 implies that it is still done.