TENTATIVE  Syllabus

  12:414 Sacraments of Initiation

Online Course -- Late Summer 2016
Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology
St. Meinrad, Indiana

Rev. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M., S.T.D,
Professor of Sacramental and Liturgical Theology

Course Description

Assigned Reading

Course Outcomes

Course Method

Schedule of Topics and Assignments

Participants

Course Description

By baptism we have become "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation" (1 Peter 2:9).  This course studies the history of the ways in which Christians have initiated new members into their community and examines carefully the current Roman Catholic rites for the initiation of both adults and children. The course is designed to help the participants develop a Baptismal Spirituality, to understand and teach these sacraments, and to plan and celebrate the rites effectively.

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Assigned Reading

1.  Maxwell Johnson. The Rites of Christian Initiation:  Their Evolution and Interpretation  (Revised and Expanded edition).   A Pueblo Book Published by the Liturgical Press, 2007.    ISBN 13:978-0-8146-6215-1.

2.   Nick Wagner:  The Way of Faith:  A Field Guide for the RCIA Process.  Twenty-Third Publications, 2008.    ISBN 978-1-58595-710-1. 

3.  The Rites of the Catholic Church, Volume I (Third edition). Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1990. ISBN: 978-0-8146-6015-7

The General Introduction to the Revised Rites of Initiation.  Any official edition; for example: The Rites of the Catholic Church, Volume I (Third edition). Collegeville, pp 3-12.

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.  Any official edition; for example: The Rites of the Catholic Church, Volume I (Third edition). Collegeville, pp 29-340.

The National Statutes for the Catechumenate.  Any official edition; for example: The Rites of the Catholic Church, Volume I (Third edition). Collegeville, pp 341-356. 

The Rite of Baptism for Children. Any official edition; for example: The Rites of the Catholic Church, Volume I (Third edition). Collegeville, pp 361-466.

The Rite of Confirmation. Any official edition; for example: The Rites of the Catholic Church, Volume I  (Third edition). Collegeville, pp 472-515.

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Course Outcomes

The hoped for outcomes of the course are:
1.  A deeper appreciation of the role of the Sacraments of Initiation in Christian Spirituality and daily living
2.  A familiarity with the current rituals:  their vocabulary, structure, and meaning
3.  An understanding of the history, structure, and function of the rites of initiation
4.  The ability to prepare and celebrate the liturgical rites in a parish setting

This course relates to each of the MA (Theology) program outcomes, namely:
1)  Understand the biblical, historical, philosophical, and systematic foundations of Catholic belief and practice;
2)  Read and interpret texts of the Catholic tradition faithfully and critically;
3)  Relate issues of contemporary thought and life to a larger Catholic theological context.

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Course Method

1.  This is an online course.  If you are not familiar with this type of learning, see the references given below in the "pre-assignment."  Note especially that:  An online course requires approximately twice the time commitment (i.e. 2 times as much) as a face to face course.   And 2) An online course is NOT a correspondence course (read / submit a paper / teacher comments).  An online course requires a community of learners.  There are assignments in this syllabus designed with that in mind; they are not simply "to make more work." 

2.  There are ten written assignments.  The grade for the course will be an average of the grades assigned to these ten papers.

3.  The papers are to be (in general) about 750 words in length; 200 is insufficient to let us know your thought; 1200 is too much for all of us to read.  5 points will be deducted if the paper is too short or too long.  Do not post your assignment as an attachment (this requires extra time from each of the participants to click, open, etc.); rather, post it in the appropriate MOODLE discussion forum.

4.  The papers are to be posted on MOODLE before midnight Thursday on the date listed in this syllabus.  This is important because of the interactive nature of the course.  5 points will be deducted if the paper is not posted on time.

5.  Try to read the postings of the other participants and my comments on each of the postings.  It is a course requirement that within a week following the date of the original posting, each student make a substantial (100 word minimum) comment on at least three of the postings of the current week; 5 points will be deducted from the grade of your posting if these three comments do not appear on MOODLE.  [The discussion may continue longer than a week, but these comments will not be graded.]

6.  While there is no "test" on the assigned readings, they are to form the background for your postings; I expect you to make appropriate references to the assigned reading in your postings. 

7.  Your postings are presumed to be your original thought unless you indicate otherwise.  When quoting someone give the source of the quote and indicate by quotation marks where the quotation begins and ends.  Each participant is expect to be familiar with the "Statement on Plagiarism" in the Saint Meinrad Student Handbook.

8.  The MOODLE grade book lists your grades numerically; the Saint Meinrad School Bulletin states that 95 (and above) = A; 94 = A-; 93 = B+; 92 (and lower) =B.

9.  To access the DVD's named in this syllabus
a) go to  https://ondemand.catholicupdate.org/registrationsub.aspx
b) enter the Share Code: MLX546
c) the play list of the 10 DVD segments should appear and will play simply by clicking on the one you want to watch.

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Schedule of Topics and Assignments

Week 0:  Before April 13  TOPIC:  PREPARATION FOR THE COURSE    If this is your first course with me I suggest you read my website, Chapter d ll General Introduction to Fr. Tom's Courses and Teaching Method   If this is your first totally online course, I suggest you read the explanatory remarks regarding online learning given at  d12 General Introduction to My Online Courses   and   d13 Tips for Online Learning
Assignment  0: On MOODLE, before midnight April 11:  Go to the course web site on MOODLE and post a brief autobiography. 1) Tell something about yourself (married, family, where do you live, employment, interests, etc.)  2) Please include the following "faith formation":   Were you baptized Roman Catholic as an infant?  If so, at what age were you Confirmed?  When did you receive Eucharist for the first time?  When was your "first confession"?   If you were not baptized Catholic when you were an infant, what has been your journey to the Catholic Church? (This information will be helpful when we discuss our own diverse experience of the subject we are studying!)   3) Describe your current ecclesial ministry (if applicable). 4) Explain why you are taking this particular course and what you want to learn. 5) List the courses you have taken so far toward the Master's degree; list the course title and the name of the professor who taught it. 6) Post a picture of yourself on MOODLE that will help us remember who you are as we read your postings throughout the course.

Week 1: April 8-13  TOPIC:  SACRAMENTS    This course on the Sacraments of Initiation builds on and presupposes that you have already taken a course in Sacramental Theology.   If this is not the case, perhaps you can "catch up" by reviewing the following material:   Four Treasures in the attic    i12 Introduction   Chapter d41 Liturgy and Psychology   The Iceberg metaphor    Generational Differences  Pay particular attention to the "shoe box metaphor" in  Chapter d31 Sacrament   Ten terms which are central to the study of sacramental theology:   1.  Sacrament / Mysterion / Sacramentum   2.  Berakah   3.  Anamnesis   4.  Epiclesis   5.  Lex Orandi   6.  Ritual    7.  Structure and Elements   8.  Liturgical Law / Valid / Licit   9.  Real Presence   10.  Res et Sacramentum  
Assignment 1: On MOODLE, before midnight April 11.  Post an essay explaining why, even prior to our consideration of the downward, katabatic, movement ("to give grace") of a liturgical act we must be attentive to its upward, anabatic movement (worship and praise).   This was a "neglected element" of liturgical and sacramental theology for those who were nurtured on a Baltimore Catechism understanding of sacraments as "instituted to give grace" rather than a contemporary understanding of Sacrament as acts of worship of the gathered community (e.g. the definition of sacrament given in Sacrosanctum Concilium).

Week 2: April 15-20  TOPIC:  SCRIPTURE    Read:  Johnson, Chapter 1: The Origins of the Rites of Christian Initiation; Chapter 2: Christian Initiation in the Pre-Nicene East; Chapter 3: Christian Initiation in the Pre-Nicene West.  YouTube:  History of Religion in 90 Seconds  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_9Nu0tGTEM  (If link does not open, simply Google Youtube: history of religion)   20  History of Initiation    21  Apostolic [0-399]     Two Stories and a Point  
Assignment 2: On MOODLE, before midnight April 18,  Using no other information than that contained in the Scriptures, describe Christian Initiation (and give the Scripture references)

Week 3: April 22-27   TOPIC: HISTORY   Read: Johnson, Chapter 4: Initiation in the Christian East During the Fourth and Fifth Centuries; Chapter 5: Initiation in the Christian West during the Fourth and Fifth Centuries; Excursus: Baptismal Preparation and the Origins of Lent.  Chapter 6: Christian Initiation in the Middle Ages; Chapter 7: The Rites of Initiation in the Christian East; Chapter 8: Christian Initiation in the Protestant and Catholic Reforms of the Sixteenth Century.   22  Patristic [400-799]    23 Early Medieval [800-1199]   24  Medieval [1200-1299]   25  Late Medieval [1300-1499]    26  Reformation [1500-1699]  27  After Trent [1700-1899]  
Assignment 3: On MOODLE, before midnight April 25, using the 10 periods of the "history grid" ( 20  History of Initiation  http://www.tomrichstatter.org/dDocuments/d20overv.htm#Ten Finger History Explanation ) state what you consider to be the one, most significant development regarding the Sacraments of Initiation that took place during each of the ten historical periods. (Limit yourself to one development for each period.) 

Week 4: April 29-May 4  TOPIC:  VATICAN II AND CHRISTIAN INITIATION   Chapter i28 Christian Initiation during the Period Before Vatican II  [1900-1959]    29 Vatican II [1960-1975]   30 After Vatican II [1975-2050]    Chapter i31 Introduction to the RCIA   The Components of the Faith Journey  
DVD:  The Fishing Trip
(10 min story)
DVD:  Stages of the RCIA   (6 minute teaching)

Assignment 4: On MOODLE, before midnight May 2:  Compare and contrast the rites of Christian Initiation before (= initiation rites in 1960) and after the Second Vatican Council (= Initiation rites 2013).  Assignment #4 is not a repeat of Assignment #3 with the ten period history grid and a description of the whole history of "initiation before the Council".  This assignment simply asks you to describe the rites used for the initiation of 1) an unbaptized adult in 1960, 2) an unbaptized infant in 1960, and 3) how a baptized non-Catholic Christian would be received into Full Communion with the Roman Catholic Church in 1960 [or 1940; or 1800 for that matter; the ritual was the same].  Then describe how we do these same things today in 2013.

Week 5: May 6-11    TOPIC:  RCIA    Read:  "The General Introduction to the Revised Rites of Initiation" Rites, pp 3-12; "The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults", Rites, pp 29-340;  "The National Statutes for the Catechumenate" Rites, pp 341-356.        32  Period of Evangelization   33 Period of The Catechumenate   34  Period of Enlightenment   35  The Easter Vigil  

DVD Adult Baptism:  Exploring its Meaning -- it is 30 minutes long.  If you are pressed for time watch the story segment and the teaching segment.

To access the DVD's named in this syllabus
a) go to  https://ondemand.catholicupdate.org/registrationsub.aspx
b) enter the Share Code: MLX546
c) the play list of the 10 DVD segments should appear and will play simply by clicking on the one you want to watch.

Assignment 5: On MOODLE, before midnight May 9,  Post a "schedule" for a parish preparation program for the RCIA.   (List the dates on which the various rites and other meetings would be scheduled and give a brief description of each (e.g. during catechetical sessions, what material would be presented)

Comment on assignment 5:  Post a "schedule" for a parish preparation program for the RCIA.

Most parishes in the United States follow a "school year" schedule for the RCIA.  The meetings begin in the fall; towards the end of  November the Inquirers become Catechumens; on the first Sunday of Lent the Catechumens become the Elect; they receive the sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil; and the period of Mystagogia corresponds to the Fifty Days of Easter.

Take a calendar for 2013-2014 and map out a schedule of events (rituals, prayers, instructions).  If there is to be one meeting for instruction each week, what would be the topics of these meetings?   If you are currently in charge of a program, you can submit what you are actually doing.  If not, you might want to talk to the DRE in your parish. 

This is merely a "schedule" and not a detailed plan.  The posting is to be only about one page long -- or two at the very most.  The point of the assignment is to get everyone thinking in a concrete manner about these rituals.  The hard part is deciding what to present during the information sessions.  You will be able to learn a lot about the other participants in the class by seeing what topics they select.  It might even give you a peak under their iceberg!

Week 6: May 13-18  TOPIC: CATECHUMENS / THE ELECT   "The National Statutes for the Catechumenate"  Rites, pp 341-356. 
No Assignment: No written assignment for this week.  Note:  I am attending the All Province Assembly of my Franciscan Family and will not have computer access May19-25.   
Watch the 30 minute DVD "This is the Night"   I have placed it in "Drop Box" and it can be accessed at the following link.  As it is a large file, I have divided it into 3 parts so that it will download quicker for you.  Note:  this is copyrighted material and is only for use in this classroom. 

Part one:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/wwjvoh4i6rhh8kt/This%20is%20the%20Night%20part%201.wmv?v=0rc-c

Part two:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/u4wexyd9f4sc52h/This%20is%20the%20Night%20part%202.wmv?v=0rc-c

Part three:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/vcubp7piy0qglna/This%20is%20the%20Night%20part%203.wmv?v=0rc-c

Week 7: May 20-25   TOPIC: RECEPTION OF BAPTIZED CHRISTIANS   Read Nick Wagner:  The Way of Faith:  A Field Guide for the RCIA Process, pp. 1-195.
Assignment 6:
 
On MOODLE, before midnight May 23:  Explain why baptized Christians who wish to join the Catholic Church should not be called "converts" why they should not use the RCIA.  And explain why many parishes don't agree with your explanation.    Mr. Wagner has prepared a PowerPoint to go with the book.  I have placed it in "Drop Box" and can be accessed at the following link:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/du6cc855813x6id/i39RCIA%20Nick%20Wagner.ppt

Week 8: May 27-June 1    TOPIC: INFANT BAPTISM   Read "The Rite of Baptism for Children"  Rites, pp 361-466.    Chapter i41 Baptism of Infants  Limbo   Delaying or Refusing Baptism DVD:  The Celebration of Infant Baptism (5:42 minutes)  https://ondemand.catholicupdate.org/registrationsub.aspx
Assignment 7:  On MOODLE, before midnight May 30:  Some contemporary Christians emphasize "believers baptism" and reject infant baptism because infants cannot have faith and consequently cannot experience conversion. Catholics formerly defended infant baptism using the doctrine of Original Sin. In the light of contemporary understanding of Original Sin, limbo, and the book of Genesis, defend infant baptism:  Why do we baptize infants? (Direct your answer to parents asking for baptism for their infant, e.g. use language they would understand.)  Before writing this assignment be sure to study carefully "A Short History of Original Sin"

Week 9: June 3-8    TOPIC: CONFIRMATION OF THOSE BAPTIZED AS INFANTS   Read:  "The Rite of Confirmation"  Rites, pp 472-515.   i433 First Reconciliation of Catholics Baptized in Infancy     i44 Confirmation of Catholics Baptized in Infancy   i47 Eucharist for Catholics Baptized in Infancy    at http://ondemand.catholicupdate.org   

DVD A Changing Sacrament (History of Reconciliation) (13 minutes)    https://ondemand.catholicupdate.org
DVD The Sacrament of Confirmation   (8 Minutes)    https://ondemand.catholicupdate.org
PowerPoint: The Holy Spirit and Christian Initiation     https://www.dropbox.com/s/l7p2rpg7w4zscxv/i33Confirmation%20FDLC.ppt

Assignment 8: On MOODLE, before midnight June 6:  Explain the meaning of the Sacrament of Confirmation to a group of high school freshmen preparing to celebrate this sacrament. Formulate your essay in the light of the contemporary history of this post baptismal anointing and the normative nature of the Rite for Christian Initiation of Adults. Before writing this assignment be sure to study http://www.tomrichstatter.org/iinitiation/i44catho.htm#Sequence_of_Initiation_Sacraments  and http://www.tomrichstatter.org/iinitiation/i44catho.htm#Rite_of_Passage 

Week 10: June 10-15   TOPIC: EUCHARIST    Read:  Johnson, Chapter 9: Christian Initiation in the Churches Today; Chapter 10: Back Home to the Font: The place of a Baptismal Spirituality and its Implication in a Displaced World.  Chapter i38 Eucharist: The Culmination of Initiation.  

DVD The Easter Triduum    https://ondemand.catholicupdate.org
DVD The Meaning and Parts of the Mass 
  https://ondemand.catholicupdate.org

Assignment 9:
On MOODLE, before midnight June 13:  If Eucharist is the culmination of Christian Initiation and if there is "one Lord, one faith, one Baptism" why is there not "one Confirmation" and "one Eucharist"?

Week 11: June 17-22  TOPIC: BAPTISMAL SPIRITUALITY    Review the course.   Review the pertinent pages of my website listed on the General Index page and on the Initiation Index page

DVD The Easter Triduum    https://ondemand.catholicupdate.org
Assignment 10:  On MOODLE, before midnight June 20:  Each year at the Easter Vigil when the Paschal Candle is prepared and blessed it is marked with the Alpha and the Omega reminding us that Christ is the first principle of everything that exists as well as their end, and that Christ is the way in which creation advances from that beginning to its final end.  Yves Congar writes: "The role of the sacraments is to reproduce in a particular mode of being [as sign]...what Jesus did for us in the days of his flesh. This allows the root to bear its fruits -- to make the Christ Alpha produce within us over time the reality of life in such a way as to form the Christ Omega." (Congar, At the Heart of Christian Worship, p 85) On MOODLE post an essay describing how this is actually accomplished by the Sacraments of Initiation.

"The church celebrates in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist, Jesus's passing over to his Father. 'The role of the sacraments is to reproduce in a particular mode of being [as sign] . . . what Jesus did for us in the days of his flesh. This allows the root to bear its fruits -- to make the Christ Alpha produce within us over time the reality of life in such a way as to form the Christ Omega.' Consequently the participation of the faithful in the church's sacramental life cannot be that of observers or of mere recipients. We are baptised into a common priesthood that makes us participants in the celebration of the body and blood of the Lord. Christ's priesthood exists in the members of his body to stimulate their participation in his own sacrifice, bringing about the willing sacrifice of human persons united to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 'In this way the faithful accomplish and fill up the sacrifice of Jesus, their Alpha (their source).'  [From the introduction to Congar's Ecclesiastical Subtext: Intransigent Conservatism by Paul Philibert, OP]

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Participants

Dawn Dye
Elizabeth Jamison
Tammy Flippo
Stuart Hamilton
Matthew S. Hilton
Rachel Forbes Kaufman
Jenny Koch
Lois Lane

Maureen Grisanti Larison
Kelly Meineke
Janet Millen
Joesph Paradis
Wayde A. Reed
Carrie Williamson

Copyright: Tom Richstatter, Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist, Cincinnati Ohio, Order of Friars Minor. All Rights Reserved.  This page was created by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.  Every effort has been, and is being made, to acknowledge sources when the ideas are not my own.  Any failure to comply with the United States Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code) will be corrected immediately should I become aware of it.  This site was updated on 10/08/14 .  Your comments are welcome at trichstatter@franciscan.org