RCIA Litany during scrutinies
  • Just recently, I've been asked to compose a setting for an RCIA litany to be chanted during the scrutinies at Mass this Lent.

    I don't believe that I've ever experienced anything like this.

    These were the exact words in the request:

    I have asked our catechumens and candidates to scrutinize their own lives and the life of the Church. Then to list anonymously on a sheet of paper things that they see as weak, defective, or sinful in their lives and that of the Church, things that they intend to pray to be delivered from during their Lenten preparation period.

    I would like to ask if you would form these words into a litany of deliverance to be chanted during the Scrutinies. In this way the entire community can unite itself to pray for the specific needs of these specific elect and of the Church.

    Things that they see as weak, defective or sinful in their lives:
    *list of things*

    Church
    *list of things*


    Has anyone composed an RCIA litany before (to be chanted during the scrutinies)? I'm having trouble finding any info on this. Thank you for any help!
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,885
    Reminds me of the Yom Kippur alphabet of woe during which one strikes one's breast. The version on the English pages of the Prayerbook ("We have been Arrogant, Brutal, Careless...") of course doesn't correspond exactly to the Hebrew, so I'll probably never learn exactly what made one woman in the congregation at one point turn and slug her husband in the arm instead.

    You could always use the Litany of Saints but here's the more traditional melody:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmzj55jcSyw

  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    Sounds corny and made-up to me. Also, I'd be interested to see what "they see as weak, defective, or sinful in ... the Church" means....
    Thanked by 2CCooze Caleferink
  • Also, I'd be interested to see what "they see as weak, defective, or sinful in ... the Church" means....


    Judging by the "church" list, the things seem to pertain to just the parish itself.
    Thanked by 1Ben Yanke
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,853
    The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, in section #162, does give a model litany for use during the scrutinies, and allows the celebrant to make adaptations in the invocations, according to circumstances, so the pastor is not asking for something totally invented.

    But the model is positive in tone, and does not name specific sins -- after all, no one is obliged to make a public confession of his individual sins (and putting people into a small group does not change this). Moreover, this is a prayer for the spiritual journey of the catechumens. The Scrutinies are not a time to talk about sins committed by other people in the Church, or about problems in church life that are a burden on the catechumens.

    I'll attach some pages from the rite that show the model litany.

    By the way, a reminder: already baptized Christians preparing to be received into the Church should not undergo the scrutinies. They are only for unbaptized catechumens, because they include prayers of exorcism.

    The National Statutes for the Catechumenate (from the USCCB) say that baptized people should not be treated as catechumens and should not take part in rites intended for the unbaptized catechumens. (NSC n. 30, 31).
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  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,853
    Here is an additional set of invocations that may be useful.
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  • Thank you! So, this seems similar to the Universal Prayer then (which could be said or sung, also).

    The person (not the pastor) suggested editing the Litany of the Saints, so this seems like the idea that they're going for. But the "list of things" I was given is long - 27 personal things, and then 11 parochial things. This will have to be really simple.
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    Judging by the "church" list, the things seem to pertain to just the parish itself.


    Perhaps you could add a few of your own, in that case:

    • From the lack of latin: deliver us, O Lord.
    • From sappy and awful music: deliver us, O Lord.
    • Etc...


    </purplebold>
  • Perhaps you could add a few of your own, in that case:

    • From the lack of latin: deliver us, O Lord.
    • From sappy and awful music: deliver us, O Lord.
    • Etc...


    Just last Sunday, someone actually complained to a choir member of mine that we're singing a Latin Agnus Dei for Lent and that they want to hear Haas/Haugen et al 100% of the time.
  • In the spirit of penance, you should restrict the use of Haugen and Haas to Lent, if possible

  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,087
    A person once complained to me that we should imitate the sacro-pop music at St. Abomination by the Pond to the north of us. I suggested that parishioner might be happier there than at my place. Sometimes you have to do that.
    Thanked by 1Jeffrey Coggins
  • I suggested that parishioner might be happier there than at my place. Sometimes you have to do that.


    I agree, but some people don't want to change where they go or what Mass time they want to go to.
  • dhalkjdhalkj
    Posts: 46
    I can't resist pointing out that the collection Who Calls You by Name Music for Christian Initiation from GIA (G-3193, 1988) by David Haas includes a song for each scrutiny and a set of perfectly serviceable Litany Acclamations (Kyrie eleison).
    And the people whose spiritual journey is being fostered are electi "Chosen ones", and no longer catechumens.
    Thanked by 1Adam Wood
  • dhalkjdhalkj
    Posts: 46
    A quick glance through the Christian Initiation sections of the latest Gather, Worship IV and Glory & Praise yields litanies, songs and Kyries for this purpose in every one of them. The most valuable thing is to ask to see a copy of the ritual book and read what is actually provided.
    I'm thinking it's time to pull up our socks and see if we can make some connections with the RCIA people and their rites.
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,087
    I'm thinking it's time to pull up our socks and see if we can make some connections with the RCIA people and their rites.


    Exactly. No one seems to know what they are doing to begin with. They show up at a Sunday mass with secret rites and rituals. Sounds Masonic, doesn't it. LOL. None of this has ever been explained to the congregation who just seem puzzled by it all.
    Thanked by 2eft94530 MBW
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    CharlesW that is because ... it is a process ... you do not have to understand it ... you just need to experience it.

    I cannot find purple bold.
    And if I could I would not use it.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,087
    No, I think the congregation needs to understand what is going on. A sermon or two could explain all of it. I have the text so I know what is happening. Most don't and are puzzled by it.
    Thanked by 2eft94530 MBW