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SACRAMENTS OF INITIATION I:  Baptism and Confirmation

FALL 2011

MONDAY 1:30 - 3:30 PM
Room 102, St. Peter's Seminary

Instructor: Dr. Susan Brown  


The course aims to help students understand the shape and meaning of the Roman Catholic Church's rites of Baptism and Confirmation by studying the foundational scriptural texts and the rich historical tradition out of which these rites have developed. Special attention will be given to post-Vatican II revisions to the sacramental rites of Baptism and Confirmation and to the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.


Students' growth in

- of how rites of initiation are currently celebrated and understood among Christians, especially those in communion with the Bishop of Rome 
- of the historical development of and rationale for RC liturgical practice and theological understanding and especially of the scriptural texts and patristic writings which ground current Roman Catholic practice
- of some of the theological and pastoral issues associated with Baptism and Confirmation 
- of materials currently available for catechesis of parents seeking Baptism for their children, of those seeking full communion and of candidates for Confirmation as well as for RCIA and or adult education programs

- in catechizing effectively those, from whatever background, who seek Baptism or Confirmation for themselves or for their children 
- in responding effectively to pastoral and canonical questions related to Sacraments of Initiation, esp. Baptism and Confirmation
- in supporting inter-church families in the Christian upbringing of their children

- of the importance of celebrating Baptism and Confirmation well
- of offering ongoing support for parents, godparents and sponsors
- of the sacramental tradition of the Eastern Catholic Churches
- of the spiritual gifts and insights many non-Catholic Christians bring with them when they seek full communion with the Roman Catholic Church


Ten Short Reflections on assigned readings   20%
Mid-Term (Oct. 31)   20%
RCIA/Reception into Full Communion Assignment (due Nov. 28)   20%
Homily assignment (due Dec. 5)   15%
Final Exam (Dec., date TBA)   25%
Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the dates indicated.    

D. READINGS (Required)

Turner, Paul Ages of Initiation with CD-Rom of source excerpts.
Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2000.
(Available for purchase in class.)
Witczak, Michael G. The Sacrament of Baptism. Lex Orandi Series.
Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2011
Course pack Readings for Systematic Theology 5241A (From Inprint in the Community Centre at
UWO; available mid-Sept.)
Either The following three CCCB publications: (Available in class through the Liturgy
Office at a discount.)
CCCB The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.
Ottawa: CCCB Publications Service, 1987.
CCCB Rite of Baptism for Children.
Ottawa: CCCB Publications Service, 1989.
CCCB Rite of Confirmation: Ritual and Pastoral Notes.
Ottawa, CCCB Publication Service, 1987.

The Rites of the Catholic Church, Vol. 1
Prepared by the International Commission on English in the
Liturgy. Study edition.
Collegeville, MN:  Liturgical Press
(A Pueblo Book), 1990.

Additional reading swill be assigned from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Documents of Vatican II and the Code of Canon Law.



For class on Topic Read:
Sept. 12 New Testament
- Pauline letters
- Synoptics and Acts
Sept. 19

New Testament
- Gospel and Letters of John
- Revelation
- Deutero-Pauline letters
- Hebrews and other letters

Turner, Ages, Ch. 1
Witczak, ix-xvi, 145-152
(Get a head start on patristic reading


Sept. 26 Second and Third Centuries
- The Didache
- Justin Martyr
- The Apostolic Tradition
- Tertullian
- Cyprian
Justin Martyr, First Apology (nn. 1-3, 6-20, 61-68.)
Apostolic Tradition 15-21 and 27
Tertullian of Carthage, On Baptism
Cyprian of Carthage, Letters 64 and Letter 69
Oct. 3 Fourth and Fifth Centuries
- Cyril of Jerusalem
- Ambrose
- John Chrysostom
- Augustine
Turner, Ages, Ch. 2
Cyril of Jerusalem, Lectures 1, 2, and 3 on the Mysteries
Ambrose of Milan, On the Mysteries
John Chrysostom, Baptismal Instructions, 2, 9 and 11
Augustine, The Punishment and Forgiveness of Suns and
the Baptism of Little Ones
, Bk. 1, nn. 1, 9-14
______Letter 98 to Boniface
______On Baptism against the Donatists, Bk. 1, Ch. 1, 10-12, 14, 18
Oct. 10 (Thanksgiving - no class)
Oct. 17

Medieval Developments
- Gelasian Sacramentary
- William Durandus
- Thomas Aquinas
- The Council of Florence

Reformation and Consolidation
- Challenges of the Reformers
- Teaching of the Council of Trent

Turner, Ages, Ch. 3-7, pp. 7-27
(material on CD if you have time)

Thomas Aquinas, ST 3a, 62, 3 and 63, 2, 3 and 6.

The Roman Catechism, "Baptism" and "Confirmation"

Oct. 24

Background to Vatican II
- Roman Missal
- Liturgical Movement
- Pre-conciliar reforms

Mid-Term Review

Turner, Images, Ch. 8-12, pp. 38-48
Witczak, 3-15 and 162-164
Oct. 31 Mid-Term
Vatican II on
- Sacraments of Initiation
- Principles of Liturgical Reform
Post-conciliar implementation and
- Canon Law and the Catechism on
Sacraments of Initiation
Witczak, 164-169.
Sacrosanctam concilium, nn. 1-71
Code of Canon Law, Canons 840-896
Catechusm of the Catholic Church, Art. 1210-1321
Nov. 7 The Rites - different forms for
different situations
- Initiation of adults
- Initiation of Infants
- Emergency situations
"Christian Initiation, general introduction."

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
Rite of Baptism for several Children outside mass
and within Mass
and Pastoral Notes (National Liturgical Office, Ottawa)
Nov. 14 Ecumenism and Rites of Initiation
- Rites of Initiation in other Christian
- Mutual recognition of sacraments of
- Reception into full communion of those
from other Christian communities

Witczak, 49-68, 98-142, 169-173

"Preface" and "Baptism" from
Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry.
Rite of Reception into full Communion.

Nov. 21 Rite of Confirmation
- structure of the rite
- issues related to Confirmation
- meaning of sacrament
- age of reception

Rite of Confirmation with Mass and Pastoral Notes
(National Liturgical Office, Ottawa)

Turner, Ages, pp. 49-64

Nov. 28 RCIA Assignment due!
Issues related to Baptism
- Baptism and Salvation
- Family environment and Baptism
- Godparents
- Baptism and Eucharist
CDF, Instruction on Infant Baptism
ITC, The Hope of Salvation
Dec. 5 Homily Assignment due!
Synthesis and Review


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Submission of Assignments: It is the responsibility of the student to organize his or her work so that the assignments are completed on time. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment will be deducted for each day it is overdue without permission.

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