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Catholic Dictionary




The period of instruction in the faith before baptism and admission of converts to the Catholic Church. The Second Vatican Council set down specific directives on the catechumenate by: 1. distinguishing between the more intense and normally prolonged catechumenate in mission lands: 2. stressing the importance of not only instruction but training in the practice of virtue; 3. pointing out the responsibility of the whole Christian community to co-operate in the preparation of catechumens; and 4. directing that the catechumenate be integrated with the liturgical year and the celebration of the Paschal Mystery (Ad Gentes Divinitus, 13-14). (Etym. Latin catechumenus; from Greek kat_khoumenos, from kat_khein, to catechize.)