Definition of catechumen in English:



  • 1A person who is receiving instruction in preparation for Christian baptism or confirmation.

    • ‘Ambrose expected those who wished to be baptized to announce their intention at the beginning of Lent and then to participate in instruction as catechumens throughout the season of Lent.’
    • ‘The person wanting to be baptised is called a catechumen and those seeking the other sacraments are called candidates for eucharist and confirmation.’
    • ‘The sermon ended; the catechumens were dismissed, the church-doors closed and barred.’
    • ‘The priest made the sign of the Cross on her forehead, saying: ‘You will now receive the sign of your new way of life as a catechumen.’’
    • ‘Thousands of animists joined the Church in 2000 and 1000 adult catechumens are scheduled to be received this Easter.’
    • ‘It is guarded thus because the custom is that the people, both faithful and catechumens, come one by one and, bowing down at the table, kiss the sacred wood and pass through.’
    • ‘In some cases, the leaders themselves were catechumens, that is, people preparing for baptism.’
    • ‘1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament.’
    • ‘And the reality of original sin and the necessity of baptism is the very first fact catechumens need to encounter.’
    • ‘I'm a catechumen eagerly seeking baptism, but my parents (HIndus, who emigrated from India in the 70s) are strongly opposed.’
    • ‘The teachers served to initiate the catechumens through different stages, until the hearer was adept enough to be entrusted with the mysteries of the faith.’
    • ‘The group of catechumens was baptized after a few days in prison, and-though it may seem hard to believe-looked forward to their martyrdom.’
    • ‘In the early Church, catechumens were received at the great vigil of Easter, beginning on Saturday evening where the creed was ‘handed over.’’
    • ‘Unlike the Saint Benedict Center, he is open to the possibility that a catechumen who desires baptism but who dies before being baptized might be saved through what is commonly called ‘baptism of desire.’’
    • ‘More than that of the unprepared participant, is not the longing of the catechumen, when baptized and fed, more fully satisfied and yet more prepared for the long journey of continuing desire that is the Christian life?’
    • ‘Forty days: time for catechumens to prepare for baptism.’
    1. 1.1 A young Christian preparing for confirmation.


Late Middle English: via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek katēkhoumenos ‘being instructed’, present participle of katēkhein ‘instruct orally’ (see catechize).