In the Period of Evangelization and Precatechumenate, the unbaptized person is referred to as a “candidate for the catechumenate.” This title continues into the Rite of Acceptance. A critical shift, however, occurs during the Signing of the Senses. The celebrant says, “Dear Candidates, your answers mean that you wish to share our life and hope in Christ. To admit you as catechumens I now mark you with the sign of Christ’s cross and call upon your catechists and sponsors to do the same . . . Receive the cross on your forehead. It is Christ himself who now strengthens you with this sign of his love. Learn to know him and follow him.”
From this point on, the rite refers to them as “catechumens.” The change in name designates a real change in identity—like Simon to Peter—and a unique status within the ecclesial community. The Church now considers the catechumen to be a member of the household of Christ. What follows are five points for reflection on this new identity.