Martin in his blog on Eurocat 2014- remembering our Baptism looks specifically at the post- baptismal and mystagogy period, noting there are four distinct periods/events.
- RCIA 237 and the masses for new catholics,
- #239 a celebration to close the period of postbaptismal catechesis held near Pentecost Sunday;
- # 241 celebration of Mass with the newly baptised ‘once in the year’; and
- #240 a liturgical celebration on the anniversary of the baptism of the neophytes.
I wondered how do we deal with this period in terms of perception from the perspective of the new catholic.
I would suggest that teams and those responsible for RCIA could ask the following questions:-
- How and when did we communicate the idea of the need for ‘ongoing formation’ after initiation ?
- Did we have a timeline in mind and communicate that to the individual?
- How is the parish community kept aware of this fourth period, in which they play, as ever, a vital role?
An interesting resource is Michael H. Marcel’s Toward the Table: ritual moments in Christian Initiation*. In chapter 16 he writes of the need to develop this period of Mystagogy which includes designating specific team members with the responsibility for this period.
Such a proposal has a lot to recommend for the smooth running of this period in future years.
- It is an opportunity to involve new people from the parish. They don’t have to be part of the RCIA pre-initiation team.
- It ensures that this fourth period is actually carried out: many perishes accept that Mystagogy is the weakest period in the RCIA process.
- You have the nucleus of a team who can plan and build on their experience for future years, concentrating on this period.
- Having designated persons responsible for the period, leaves the basic RCIA team time to concentrate on enquirers and catechumens who are to be initiated in the future.
As Martin said about the easter scriptures being so apt, so also are those of Pentecost , and Holy Trinity, as our new members discern what gifts they have to share in the community. In 2 Corinthians (Holy Trinity) they hear anew the greeting of the community and what it means to be a member of the Church.
- What works well in Mystagogy in your community?
- Do you have anything you would like to share?
*Marcel (2013) World Library Publications, Illinois, USA