I read recently of how every time we say the words ‘Hail Mary’ Our Lady’s heart leaps in joy. It is a lovely image and one that I like to conjure up during my day. The Hail Mary is such a simple prayer, and one that can lighten up one’s day, wherever you are. It is a great prayer for those involved in RCIA.

This week offers an easy introduction into lectionary based catechesis. On Friday we have the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary.  October traditionally is a month when we dedicate our prayers to the Blessed Virgin and whether we have an initial enquirer or are in the midst of the catechumenate period, this month offers  an opportune way to  introduce and consider a variety of facets of the catholic faith.

The ‘Hail Mary’  offers a wonderful example of a prayer of faith. It speaks of Our Lady’s faith, of her cousin Elizabeth’s faith: of enlightenment, and of our faith.

  • During the 1st period of evangelisation and precatechumenate, the community ‘welcomes them into their homes, into personal conversation, and into the community gatherings’ Rite of Christian Initiation of  Adults ‘RCIA’ 9.1.

If inviting an enquirer into your home, why not let them see  how a statue of Our Lady or  picture or icon is central to the home.  Show them  the rosary beads, tell them about the Marian shrines. Share with them the stories of Lourdes, Fatima and Walsingham.

As the catechumen become  ‘familiar with the Christian way of life and are helped by the example and support of sponsors, godparents, and the entire Christian community, the catechumens learn to turn more readily to God in prayer …’ RCIA 75.2

  • If you have a multi-cultural community ask parishioners to share stories of Marian devotion in their country.  It makes for a fascinating and lively discussion if you have someone who has a video of  fiestas and processions. We do good ones  here as well!
  • Explore  icons, statues, books  for different aspects of the life of Our Lady.
  • Explore the different types of prayer, of meditation, contemplation.
  • Have another look at the prayers of Mass when we ask Our Lady to pray for us like the ‘I confess’.
  • Use the episode when Mary is confronted by the angel Gabriel,  to  discuss  the challenges  faced on a journey of faith.

Share the experience of praying the rosary together, and let the community benefit  ‘by joining the catechumens in reflecting on the value of the paschal mystery’. RCIA 4

So what are you doing in your parish this month?