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passing the batton

Handing over the Creed

passing the battonThere is a tradition of “receiving the creed”.

This is the fifth post in a series on the Creed.

The first is Apostles’ Creed.
The second is I believe in God.
The third is a source of the Apostles’ Creed.
The fourth is I believe in the Father.

Those involved in a catechumenal process as adults (for example, the Roman Catholic Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) will probably have experienced receiving the creed as part of their journey to baptism (or possibly confirmation or reception).

In the Third Week of Lent those “receiving” the creed come forward. The assembly of the faithful declare the creed, and those “receiving” it listen.

This, then, becomes, for these people, a more proximate “source” for them of the Apostles’ Creed.

The English word “tradition” echoes what they experience. The word “tradition” originates from the Latin tradere or traderer “to transmit”, “to hand over”.

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you… (1 Cor 11:23-26) “…παρέλαβον…παρέδωκα…”

For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received… (1 Cor 15:3) “…παρέδωκα…παρέλαβον…”

In my book, Celebrating Eucharist, I offer a way to celebrate this:

It is appropriate that the Apostles’ (or Nicene) Creed be given to the candidates for baptism on the Third Sunday in Lent. The Apostles’ Creed is preferable as it is recited on the occasion of their baptism at the Great Vigil of Easter.

Immediately after the sermon, the candidates and their companions are called forward. The candidates may kneel or bow their heads. The companions place a hand upon the shoulder of the one they are companioning.

One of the catechists says:

Let the candidate(s) for baptism now receive the Creed from the Church.

The people and presider say the Creed standing. The presider concludes:

May God remain with you always. Amen.

The candidates and companions may be prayed for, and then return to their places, or they are dismissed.

As well as any other comments, people who have experienced this or participated in it might add their own reflection.
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