The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Living water

The catechumenate moves people to faith and font

Cata-what? There are any number of words you might be familiar with that begin with the cata sound: catalyst, catacomb, even catechism — as in Martin Luther's Small Catechism or the classes adolescents through the years have eagerly or grudgingly attended.

But one cata word you may not have heard is catechumenate. Whether you're in Catalonia working as an expert in catachresis (misuse of words) or on your catamaran paging through the spring Lands' End catalog, this may not be the last you'll hear of the catechumenate. After all, with the help of people like Paul Hoffman on the West Coast and Elsa Quanbeck in the East, the catechumenate is catapulting people into deeper faith.

Catechumenate is the ancient process of preparing adults for baptism or a renewal of their baptism. Often it includes months of study with a concentration during Lent that culminates in an Easter baptism or affirmation of baptism and continues in lifelong discipleship.

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February issue


Embracing diversity