Vatican website translation:
64. The catechumenate for adults, comprising several distinct steps, is to be restored and to be taken into use at the discretion of the local ordinary. By this means the time of the catechumenate, which is intended as a period of suitable instruction, may be sanctified by sacred rites to be celebrated at successive intervals of time.
64. Instauretur catechumenatus adultorum pluribus gradibus distinctus, de iudicio Ordinarii loci in usum deducendus; quo fiat ut tempus catechumenatus, aptae institutioni destinatum, sacris ritibus successivis temporibus celebrandis, sanctificari possit.
Slavishly literal translation:
64. The catechumenate of adults, marked by multiple steps, is to be restored and be brought into use according to the judgment of the Ordinary of the place; by which may it occur that the time of the catechumenate, designed for appropriate instruction, could be made holy by celebrating sacred rites through successive times.
Having given permission for an expanded use of the vernacular in the celebration of the sacraments and the sacramentals, the Council Fathers now continue their practical decrees by beginning a consideration of the sacraments of initiation. First they call for the restoration of the adult catechumenate, a structure of initiation characteristic of the early centuries of the Church’s existence. This was not a purely antiquarian request. Since the 1940s missioners in Africa had been experimenting with adapting elements of ancient catechumenal rites to the cultural situations in which they found themselves working in lieu of “convert classes.” After World War II, those preparing adults who had never been baptized as infants for Christian initiation in de-Christianized parts of Europe also sought something more than instruction conjoined to the bare rite of baptism. Art. 64 opened these pastoral initiatives for the use of the entire church. Article 14 of the later conciliar document on the missionary activity of the Church, Ad Gentes, will treat the catechumenate in greater depth: “The catechumenate means not simply a presentation of teaching and precepts, but a formation in the whole of the Christian life and a sufficiently prolonged period of training.”
The choice of whether or not to implement the catechumenate is left to the diocesan Ordinary. Helpful in this regard will be the Code of Canon Law and the eventually promulgated Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (more or less adapted to culture in comparison with the editio typica by different bishops’ conferences). A set of National Statutes on the Catechumenate, proposed by the United States bishops and given recognitio by the Holy See in 1988, are especially helpful in regulating the catechumenate in the United States.
Pray Tell readers may wish to discuss their own experiences with the adult catechumenate, how it has affected worship in their own communities, what issues may have arisen, and what further adaptations they might propose. It might be of special interest to discuss the pastoral issues arising from communities using both OF and EF versions of adult initiation.