It is August, and in many of our churches, groups have shut down for the school holidays as catechists take a well earned break. Great for the catechists, but what of those potential enquirers or the catechumens who have to put their faith journey on hold.
- How are we ever going to achieve the all year round catechumenate?
I’d like to suggest two routes. One is the widespread acceptance that RCIA is not the responsibility of the RCIA ‘team’, but is the task of all of the local community. Imagine having the whole parish supporting RCIA. Well, isn’t that what is intended by RCIA 4 & 9:
- ‘The initiation of catechumens is a gradual process that takes place within the community of the faithful.’ RCIA 4
- ‘… the local Church, should understand and show by their concern that the initiation of adults is the responsibility of all the baptised’ RCIA 9
It needs some thought about seeing where and in what diverse ways the RCIA process is mirrored in church activities as well as Mass and liturgical celebrations.
- Does your parish council include members with specific experience of RCIA?
- Is RCIA well publicised throughout your parish?
A parish which grows around the RCIA process is a parish whose parishioners will take responsibility for sharing in the support and formation of aspiring new catholics. Then, just as any business does, there will be the manpower to have rotas and temps and a plan for year round cover for vital roles. After all how would you feel if you went to your favourite bakery or newsagents, and a notice said ‘closed for the school holidays’? A week, you may accept, but 6 weeks: No.
CLOSED for the School Holidays
A second route is to promote the post easter ‘mystagogy’ period, as this will also lead to a greater awareness by the parish of the catechumenate, as well as providing much needed ongoing formation for our new catholics.
In this Sunday’s gospel (18th Ordinary Time Mathew 14:13-21) Jesus also tried to get away, in order to grieve on the death of John the Baptist. But when he saw the crowd that followed him, he was able to take pity on those who needed him and give of his healing power.
So how do we ‘take pity’ and apply all year round catechumenate.
- If your parish is working towards this or has achieved it , do share your experience.