Syllabus

  12:414 Sacraments of Initiation

Weekend Course:  April 18-19, May 16-17, June 13-14, 2015  -- Room G 128
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 Goals 

Course Contribution to Degree Program Outcomes

Course Method

Schedule of Topics and Assignments

Weekend 1:  April 18-19
Weekend 2:  May 16-17
Weekend 3:  June 13-14

Participants

I suggest that during the course you refer to this syllabus online rather than print a copy of it at the beginning of the course.  I will update it as needed in response to your questions for clarification. If you have previously viewed this page, I suggest that you click the refresh button on your web browser so that you are certain that you are viewing the most recent edition of this page.

Course Description

By baptism we become “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9).  This course studies the effects of Christian Initiation and the history of the ritual ceremonies Christians have used to receive new members into their community.  The course is designed to help the participants develop a Baptismal Spirituality, to understand and teach the Sacraments of Initiation, and to 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 978-1-58595-710-12. 

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 3-2.

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.

Suggested Reading

Kenan B. Osborne, O.F.M. Christian Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist. New York: Paulist Press, 1998.  ISBN-13: 978-0809128860.

Joseph Martos. Doors to the Sacred:  A Historical Introduction to Sacraments in the Catholic Church, Vatican II, Golden Anniversary Edition Updated and Enlarged with Charts and Glossary.  Liguori.  Revised May 2014.  ISBN 9780764824517    $34.99

Maxwell L. Johnson, Editor. Living Water, Sealing Spirit: Readings on Christian Initiation. Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1995. ISBN 0-8146-6140-8. $27.95.

Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M. The Sacraments, (12 talks audio CD available from www.NowYouKnowMedia.com)

Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M. The Sacraments: How Catholics Pray.  St Anthony Messenger Press (June 1995) ISBN-13: 978-0867161762.  (Available from Amazon.com used for $0.01)

Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M. The Mass: A Guided Tour.   St Anthony Messenger Press (Sept 2009) ISBN-13: 978-0867166460 (Available from Amazon.com used for $0.01)

Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.  Liturgy and Worship:  A Course on Prayer and Sacraments.  William H Sadlier, (January 1999) ISBN-13: 978-0821556047 (Available from Amazon.com used for $0.01)

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Course Goals

1.  Students will be able to describe the differences in the initiation practices of the Eastern Churchs and the Western Church.
2.  Students will be able to disign and teach a program for those preparing for the Rites of Christian Initition for Adults.
2.  Students will be able to construct a preperation program for Confirmation following First Holy Communion in the case of adolescents baptized Catholic as infants
3.  Students will be able to explain the reasons for Baptism in the light of recent developments with regard to the literary forms of Genesis 1-3; Original Sin; and Limbo.

Course Contribution to Degree Program Outcomes

This course relates to each of the intended course outcomes of the degree of Master of Arts (Theology) and Master of Arts (Pastoral Theology), namely:

1) understand the biblical, historical, systematic, and pastoral dimensions of Catholic belief and practice;

Students will examine the history of the Christian Initiation in order to explain and assess contemporary approaches to teaching about Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.  This outcome will be tested by assignments 1, 2, 3, and 4.

2) read and interpret texts of the Catholic tradition faithfully and critically

Students will study the current sacramental initiation rituals of the Roman Rite in order to examine and evaluate the theology and spirituality expressed in the liturgical celebration of the sacraments.  This outcome will be tested by assignments 5 and 8.

3) relate issues of contemporary thought, life, and pastoral practice to larger Catholic theological context

 Students will demonstrate their ability to explain the sacraments in a pastoral, catechetical context.  This outcome will be tested by assignments 7 and 9.

The course goes beyond the intellectual pillar of formation and in incorporates opportunities for the development of spiritual, pastoral, and human formation.    Assignments 5 and 10 give opportunity for spiritual, pastoral, and human formation. 

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Course Method

1.  Ordinarily a three credit graduate course is 15 weeks long; this course is only 8 weeks in length.  The "advantage" of this schedule is that it enables you and the school to schedule a sequence of four courses each year and consequently you can complete the degree more rapidly.  The "disadvantage" is that we will have to work twice as hard and twice as fast. 

2.  Even though the class will meet face-to-face on three weekends (Saturday and Sunday), the majority of the learning activities will be accomplished at home and on-line.  It is presumed that each of the participants is an adult learner and will take responsibility for reading and studying the texts, posting the required assignments, and participating in the class discussions, etc. 

3.  The course requires ten written essays.  The essays are to be posted on MOODLE before midnight on the day listed in this syllabus.  I will promptly read the assignments (which have been posted by the deadline) and respond to each and post a grade (as indicated in the schema below).  Students are encouraged to read and critique the postings of the other students.  Each student is required to read at least 3 of the other participants' postings for each assignment and before the deadline for the following assignment, each student is to post a substantial [e.g. 100 words] response/critique to at least three of the postings for each assignment.  While this requires a certain amount of time and effort, students have told me that they find this "learning from one another" very helpful.  These comments form part of the course grade.  Because of the dialogical nature of the course, it is important that the assignments be posted on time.  Grade points will be deducted for late postings.  These 10 assignments and the accompanying comments, together with general overall participation in the class weekends, will determine the final grade for the course.  

-- The postings are to be about 1000 words in length [500 words is insufficient to adequately answer the assignment; 2000 words is too long for your classmates to read eachweek]. 
-- 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.
-- P
ost your assignment in the Moodle auto-format.
-- Place references within the text rather than as footnotes (this facilitates reading the essay on MOODLE).
-- The Mader Center offers assistance in developing reading and writing skills, including review of paper drafts.  Contact the director of the Mader Center Mr. Jeff Jenkins at jjenkins@saintmeinrad.edu for more information. 

4. I will assign grades to your work as follows:

Below 85% The essay is seriously deficient with regard to the expectations of the assignment.

Below 90% The essay does not adequately meet one or more of the expectations of the assignment.

90-92% The essay adequately fulfills the assignment and was posted within the assigned time. The author responded adequately to at least three of the other postings. The essay shows that the author understands the material and can explain it adequately. (This is the grade to be ordinarily expected.)

93-94% The essay shows very good insight into the material and gives evidence that the author has read and understood the assigned readings. The essay cites the assigned readings to good advantage. The essay includes supporting statements from other sources. The essay gives evidence that the author has spent some time thinking seriously about the issue.  When responding to the postings of others, the comments further an ongoing theological discussion.

Above 94% The essay is exceptional with regard to the above mentioned criteria and indicates real insight into the issues that lie behind the assigned topic which will enable the author to integrate these insights into the overall structure of the course.

5. 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.  Evidence of plagiarism in written work will result in an "F" for the assignment in question and will be reported to the Office of the Academic Dean. If you are unsure of what constitutes plagiarism, please consult the Academic Catalog at www.saintmeinrad.edu/lay-degrees/calendar,-courses,-policies/academic-integrity

6.  Your grades will be posted in the MOODLE grade book.  The grade book lists your grades numerically; the School Bulletin states that 95 (and above) = A; 94 = A-; 93 = B+; 92 (and lower) =B.  [.5 is rounded up] 

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Schedule of Topics and Assignments

Reading Schedule

There are about 1200 pages of assigned reading; that is about 150 pages a week.   The schedule given here is a "guideline" for reading the material.  It would be ideal if you could read the three books before the class starts!  Any any case, try to read and study the material as soon as you can; at the very minimum, have the material read by the dates given here.

Week 1 -- April 19-25  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.

Week 2 -- April26-May 2  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. 

Week 3 -- May 3 - 9  Read Johnson, 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.  

Week 4 -- May 10 - 16  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. 

Week 5 -- May 17 - 23  Read 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 3-2; 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. 

Week 6 -- May 24 - 30  Read Nick Wagner:  The Way of Faith:  A Field Guide for the RCIA Process, pages 1-195.

Week 7 -- May 31 - June 6  Read 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. 

Week 8 -- June 6 - 13  Read 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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Schedule for the Written Assignments

Each of the following assignments is to be posted on MOODLE before midnight on the date assigned below.

Assignment #0 -- Due by midnight on Thursday, April16 -- Go to the course page in MOODLE  and click on "Autobiography" at the top of the page and then, at the bottom of the page, click on "add a new discussion topic" and post a brief autobiography containing the following seven elements:
1)  T
ell something about yourself (married, family, where do you live, employment, interests, etc.)
2)  Give the following "faith formation" information: Were you baptized Roman Catholic as an infant? If so, at when age were you Confirmed? When did you receive Eucharist for the first time? When was your "first confession" (before or after your "first Communion")?  --  If you were not baptized Catholic when you were an infant, what has been your journey to the Catholic Church?
3) With which generational cohort do you identify? 1. Silent, born 1927-1945; 2.  Boomer, 1946 -1964; 3.  Gen X, 1965-1981; 4.  Millennial, 1982 to the present.
4) Describe your current ecclesial ministry (if applicable).
5) Explain why you are taking this particular course and what you want to learn.
6) List the courses you have taken so far toward the Master's degree at Saint Meinrad; list the course title and the name of the teacher.
7) Post a picture of yourself on MOODLE that will help us know who you are as we read your postings throughout the course.

Assignment #1 -- Due by midnight on Thursday, April 23 -- The very first document promulgated by the Second Vatican Council stated that:  "21. In order that the Christian people may more certainly derive an abundance of graces from the sacred liturgy, holy Mother Church desires to undertake with great care a general restoration of the liturgy itself. For the liturgy is made up of immutable elements divinely instituted, and of elements subject to change. These not only may but ought to be changed with the passage of time if they have suffered from the intrusion of anything out of harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy or have become unsuited to it."  One element of this restoration was the understanding of "sacrament".  Post an essay describing how the Council has restored and broadened our understanding of "sacrament" and how this affects how we celebrate the Sacraments of Initiation today in the Roman Rite. 

Assignment #2 -- Due by midnight on Wednesday, April 29 -- It is obvious that Baptism is a rite of initiation; how is Eucharist a rite of Initiation?

Assignment #3 -- Due by midnight on Tuesday, May 5 -- All Christians, both East and West, both Catholic and Protestant, accept the authority of Sacred Scripture.  Using the images of initiation presented in the New Testament, develop a Baptismal Spirituality that would be acceptable to all Christians.

Assignment #4 -- Due by midnight on Monday, May 11 -- Explain the principal differences in the theology and liturgical practice of Christian Initiation between the Eastern and the Western Christian Churches.

Assignment #5 -- Due by midnight on Thursday, May 14  --  The Second Vatican Council  (SC 109)  restored the baptismal character of Lent (“Our 40-day Retreat before Baptism”) and decreed that “More use is to be made of the baptismal features proper to the Lenten liturgy; some of them, which used to flourish in bygone days, are to be restored as may seem good.”  In the restored Roman Rite, what elements of the Lentan liturgy speak of Initiation?

Assignment #6 -- Due by midnight on Thursday, May 21 -- Outline a program for implementing the RCIA in 2016 in a contemporary American parish. List the dates on which the various rites and other meetings would be scheduled and give a brief description of the topics of the catechetical sessions. 

Assignment #7 -- Due by midnight on Wednesday, May 27 -- Nick Wagner (Chapter  21-22) contends that the RCIA is only for Converts.  Is this the practice in your parish?  If so, explain why this is done (i.e. defind Wagner's position) and if not, explain why not (and defend that position).

Assignment #8 -- Due by midnight on Tuesday, June 2 -- 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 primarily in the light of the doctrine of Original Sin. In the light of contemporary understanding of Baptism, explain to the parents of an infant why they should want to have their infant baptized.

Assignment #9 -- Due by midnight on Monday, June 8 --  Critique the theology of Confirmation presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Second Eition) # 1285 - 1321.  [Definition of "critique" from the Merriam-Webster dictionary: a careful judgment in which you give your opinion about the good and bad parts of something (such as a piece of writing or a work of art).]

Assignment #10 -- Due by midnight on Wednesday, June 10 -- Each year at the Easter Vigil when the Paschal Candle is prepared, 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) Explain how this is accomplished by the Sacraments of Initiation.

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Weekend 1: April 18-19

Saturday, April 18

Note:  The topics listed here are tentative.   The interests and needs of the group will determine the subjects to be presented.  Immediately after the weekend I will adjust the syllabus to reflect what we actually discussed.  This will make it easier for you to review the material.  For this reason I suggest that you work from the syllabus "on line" rather than from a "hard copy." 

8:35 to 11:55

PowerPoint:  General Introduction to Ft. Tom's courses:  icebergs, moving the furniture, tip of the pistol, etc.  The information on these slides and lecture can be found on my website at Chapter d11 General Introduction to Fr. Tom's Courses and Teaching Method   i12 Introduction  and The Iceberg Metaphor at Chapter d41 Liturgy and Psychology.    Introduction of the participants in the course:  Who are we?

Break

Presentation of Website and syllabus and assignments. Summary and overview of the material to be studied. PowerPoint: Christmas Text can be found at Chapter y42 Christtmas  This material can be found on my website at Chapter d31 Sacrament   Attitudes toward Baptism 

12:00 to 1:00Lunch
1:00 to 4:00

Chapter d21 Overview of the History of Liturgy  The Ten Finger History Grid and how to use it.  PowerPoint i01 RCIA: Historical Overview    PowerPoint: Pools and Fonts Chapter i52 The Place for Initiation   Discussion   Original Sin  "Our need for redemption by Christ."   See Chapter i41 Baptism of Infants    Limbo    Why baptize infants? 

4:30 -- I have Mass at St. John Chrysostom Church, New Boston IN 

Sunday, April 19

8:15 to 10:00PowerPoint:  Lent    Text can be found at Chapter y31 Lent
10:00Room Checkout
10:30Mass with Seminary Comminity (St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel)
11:45 to 12:45 Lunch
12:45 to 4:00DVD Becoming Catholic   DVD:  The Fishing Trip (10 min story segment of "Becoming Catholic" D2010)     DVD: How One Becomes Catholic (8 min teaching segment of "Becoming Catholic" D2010  DVD Adult Baptism     Preview of assignments 1 to 5   5 Gifts of Vatican II
4:00 End

 

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Weekend 2: May 16-17

Saturday, May 16

9:05 to 11:55

What has happened since our last meeting:  "Tip of the Pistol Changes".  Presentation of Part 3 of my website:  The RCIA   31  RCIA Introduction  

Noon to 1:00Lunch
1:00 to 4:25

Video:  This is the Night -- Discussion of Sacramental Symbols.   PowerPoint i04 RCIA and Lent   32  Period of Evangelization   33 Period of The Catechumenate   34  Period of Enlightenment   35  The Easter Vigil  

Sunday, May 17

8:15 to 9:15

36  Baptism  

9:30 to 10:30Mass with Monastic Community (Archabbey Church)
11:00 to 11:55

37  Confirmation   38  Eucharist: Culmination of Initiation   39 The Period of Mystagogia   

12:00Lunch
1:00 to 4:30Sacrament of Reconciliation:  History, Vatican II, Contemporary Development, Pastoral Implications

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Weekend 3: June 13-14

Saturday, June 13

8:35 to 11:55

Presentation and discussion of the postings for Assignment #6:  Program for Implementing the RCIA in a parish in 2016.  Presentation of the posts; discussion:  What should always be included?  How much pre-Vatican Catholic piety do they need to know?  DVD:  This is the Night   Discussion: What are the reasons for the relatively high "dropout" rate of those initiated through the RCIA?

Noon to 1:00Lunch
1:00 to 4:30

Reading and discussion of the "Rite for Reception of Baptized Christians into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church."  "The Decree on Ecumenism"--presentation of the text and discussion of its implications for Christian Initiation today. A note on the interpretation of Canon law.  Discussion of Assignment #7:  Nick Wagner's Chapters 21 & 22.  Is the RCIA only for Converts?  Parish practice.  Exceptions to the rule.  What does Baptism really mean?  How much does a Catholic need to "know"?

2:00 Cookie break!

DVD:  Infant Baptism   Discussion of Assignment #8:  Infant baptism -- reasons for and against.  What does baptism give the infant?  43 First Reconciliation of Catholics Baptized in Infancy    47 Eucharist for Catholics Baptized in Infancy    Are there any questions on the Church's teaching regarding original sin and/or the presentation on Original Sin in the CCC?  The Code of Canon Law regarding the refusal and/or delay of infant baptism. Discussion of "indiscriminate baptism" pro and con.

Sunday, June 14

8:15 to 9:15

DVD Confirmation    Critique Discussion of Assignment #9:  The theology of Confirmation presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Second Eition) # 1285 - 1321.  How to catechise regarding Confirmation with the RCIA.   44 Confirmation of Catholics Baptized in Infancy  

9:30 to 10:30Mass with Monastic Community (Archabbey Church)
11:00 to 11:55

How to catechise regarding Confirmation with the RCIA. 

12:00Lunch -- Guest House
1:00 to 4:30Presentation and discussion of Assignment #10:  The role of the Sacraments of Initiation in forming Christ the Omega.  PowerPoint:  Icebergs in Review  Concluding Remaks.  Process Comments.  Evaluation / discussion. 

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Participants

1.  Will Braniff
2. 
Sean Caveny
3. 
Pam Doyle
4.  Ryan Ecken
5.  Ingrid Gaither

6. 
Paul Gaylo

 7.  Sandy Hornbach
 8.  Sarah Longoria
 9. 
Anita Navarra
10. Marco Rajkovich
11. Carl Ritzel
12. Kay Scoville

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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 06/12/15 .  Your comments on this site are welcome at trichstatter@franciscan.org