Here are some questions about the sacraments (and sacramentals) from Anonynous bloggers:
1) “Why do priests kiss the purple scarf they put around their neck before confession?” It is an act of veneration where the priest shows respect for the stole through which God’s Mercy is given to the penitent. We see similar signs of veneration when the priest kisses the altar at the beginning and end of Mass, and when we all venerate the Cross during the service on Good Friday.
2) “what does an adult do to become confirmed? Are there classes involved?” An adult who has been baptized Catholic and made their first Holy Communion and desires to be confirmed would enroll in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). RCIA is made up of catechumens and candidates. Catechumens are those who haven’t received any of the sacraments of Christian initiation – Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation. Candidates are those who have been validly baptized but haven’t made their first Holy Communion or Confirmation or both.
We have RCIA classes every Wednesday night here at St. Andrew’s. We have a sizable group of extraordinary men and women who desire full union with Christ and his Church. We have about 5 catechumens and 10 candidates, most of whom will be coming into the Church fully at the Easter Vigil. Our weekly “class” examines the history, teachings, and practices of the Church. With their sponsors at their side, the catechumens and candidates are given a presentation (that usually coincides with the book we use), notes, and an opportunity for questions and either a large-group or a small-group discussion.
Now that we are in the Lenten season, RCIA is intensifying. Each week at the 10:00 Sunday Mass, the RCIA group sits in the front pews, and then is dismissed after the homily to discuss the Word of God from the liturgy. It is a way for them to more fully prepare for participation in the Liturgy of the Eucharist at Easter. Also, this past Sunday, they went down to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for the Rite of Election. Along with all of the catechumens and candidate from the parishes of the Archdiocese, they were formally presented to the bishop for full reception into the Catholic Church.
The next three weeks are called the “scrutinies”. They are “rites for self-searching and repentance and have above all a spiritual purpose…these rites, therefore, should complete the conversion of the elect and deepen their resolve to hold fast to Christ and to carry out their decision to love God above all” (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). These rites will be celebrated after the homily at the 10 Mass the next three Sundays. The RCIA group will be dismissed at that point.
Please pray for these men and women, that they will continue to courageously come closer to our Lord in the spirit of true conversion. They are inspirations for all of us!
3) “Hey I just thought of something. Once you leave the Mormon Church you have to be rebaptized to come back. Why this rebatism? We didn't discuss this today but I remember someone saying that a couple of years ago. Once you are baptized in the Catholic church that's it you don't have to do it again.” A valid baptism where water is used and the person is baptized “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” does not need to be repeated. The Church recognizes baptisms in other churches where this proper form and matter is used as being valid, and thus not necessary to repeat. Mormon baptism does not use the proper form and matter, as far as I know.
The only time where baptism might be repeated is when a baptized adult does not have a recollection or proof that he/she was baptized validly. If it remains unknown and the person desires baptism, a “conditional baptism” is perfomed (it is done on the condition that the first baptism was not valid).