Preparation for the Scrutinies

Leader's Guide: Preparation for the Scrutinies
Lenten Retreat for Catechumens, Candidates and the Parish Community

Why this process? If those we are initiating into the Catholic Church are going to come to awareness and appreciation of what God is doing through the Scrutiny celebrations it is essential that we prepare them for this experience.

In addition, the presence of the larger community with them during the preparation process imprints on them the truth that this time of Lent is a time spent every year for the rest of their lives turning to the Lord once again.

For whom is this process designed? The Lenten Retreat is a process of prayer, reflection, and surrender that is specifically designed for the Elect who are preparing for full initiation at the Easter Vigil.

 

The baptized candidates for full communion and the baptized faithful are also invited to participate in this retreat process to help them prepare for Reconciliation before the Triduum celebrations.

If a parish has no catechumens the reflections offered here can be used with candidates and faithful only...or if there are no candidates they could be used with the faithful to prepare for Reconciliation and the Triduum celebrations.

The how of this process Sometime during the week before each of the three Scrutinies the catechumens gather with the candidates and the faithful from the community for a time of prayer and reflection on the scriptures for the next Sunday.

 

The space is prepared to highlight the paschal symbol of those particular readings. { water, light, death/resurrection}

After each of the readings everyone is invited to reflect and share on the meaning of the scriptures for their lives.

Time for personal reflection and prayer is given before the end of the time together and participants are invited to name the area of their lives where they are in most need of God's mercy and forgiveness.

The process can be used with a large group separated into smaller circles of participants at the parish site...or... with smaller groups in the parish at the most convenient time for each group...or if you have the luxury of trained facilitators...in the homes of parishioners.

Outline for the Evening

  • Gathering

     

  • Opening Hymn
  • Welcome
  • Opening Prayer
  • Prepare the people for the reading.
    • 1st Reading
      • questions for reflection
      • sharing
  • Prepare the people for the psalm.
    • Responsorial Psalm
      • questions for reflection
      • sharing
  • Prepare the people for the gospel
    • Alleluia
    • Gospel
      • questions for reflection
      • sharing
  • Time for personal prayer, journaling, silence.
    Three options are offered for this time of prayer:
    1. The group processes to the church to pray in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle. Prepared intercessions are used and the group is dismissed in silence after being invited to be present as a supporting community for the Elect on the following Sunday.

    2. The group remains in the meeting space, environment is created to enable prayer. Prepared intercessions are used and the group is dismissed in silence after being invited to be present as a supporting community for the Elect on the following Sunday.

    3. The group remains in the meeting space, environment is created to enable prayer. Spontaneous petitions are elicited from the participants for the intercessions. The group is dismissed in silence after being invited to be present as a supporting community for the Elect on the following Sunday.

  • Closing Prayer
Preparing the Parish for the Lenten Retreat For at least 4 - 6 weeks before Lent begins, information about the Lenten Retreat needs to be shared with parishioners. See sample bulletin inserts, flyer samples in this packet. Space is provided to personalize the parish flyer with relevant information

 

Make contact with neophytes from the previous 2 - 3 years and invite them to participate in the process.

Invite parents of children preparing for reception of sacraments to be part of the process. Invite seniors, young adults, high school students, all liturgical ministers, and any one else you can think of.

For at least 4 - 6 weeks announce this Lenten Retreat in the announcements at Mass.

Collaborate with the Adult Faith Formation Team at the parish to advertise the Lenten Retreat to all adults of the parish.

Some decisions to make 1. What format will you use:
* Gather all at parish site one evening each of the weeks
* Gather in separate groups: one in the evening, one in the morning at the parish site
* Form small groups to gather at parishioner homes
* Share the material so that other small groups that meet at the parish can use it in place of their ordinary agenda

 

2. How will you create the environment?
* You will need three plans ~ one for each week of the Lenten Retreat...keep it simple but related to the readings

3. Who will be responsible for preparing the material needed by the participants? [perhaps a different team for each night]
* Handouts
* Music
* Refreshments
* Pencils/paper/for journaling etc.
* Hospitality