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Catholic Dictionary

Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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CATECHUMENATE

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 katēkhoumenos, from katēkhein, to catechize.)