Initiation into the Catholic Church, traditionally done at the Easter Vigil, will occur this year on May 30, the vigil of Pentecost, because of the ongoing closure of public Masses.

“We can’t do it privately because we initiate them into a community, into a parish. Not to have anyone there defeats the purpose,” Laura Bertone, director of the archdiocese of San Francisco’s office of worship, said.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone had selected the vigil of Pentecost as a replacement because of its close connection to the descent of the Holy Spirit, and because of the hope that restrictions on public gatherings will have been lifted then.

Along with public Masses, religious education classes were suspended on March 17. RCIA groups have largely continued to meet through Zoom, although catechesis has concluded. “For the most part it’s check-in, fellowship and community,” she said.

The unique circumstances in the church today, like Mass cancellations or Pope Francis’s “Urbi et Orbi” blessing March 27, have also prompted questions about “indulgences from the pope, or what happens if I don’t go to Mass,” Bertone said.

RCIA groups have been disappointed, Bertone said, at the delay in their reception into the church, but she said “a little struggle isn’t necessarily a bad thing….

Other planned sacramental celebrations like confirmation and first Communion have been cancelled or rescheduled as well, Bertone said….

The above comes from an April 5 story in Catholic San Francisco.