A New Year, a new start, a new look at life. Well it works just as well with RCIA, especially if you run a year round catechumenate with a rolling programme.
We can be so busy that it is often our own formation that we forget to make time for. So perhaps on our Agenda we can build in times when there is formation for the team. This can be as short as starting a catechetical session 15 minutes earlier with the team, or setting aside a regular time each month. That is why diocesan and RCIA Network days are so beneficial: they reignite the passion for RCIA and generally offer some new insights as well as provide a time to exchange experiences with other practitioners.
It is good to have a team session (which can be just the team, or why not invite sponsors, catechists, helpers for at least part of the session).
In your session start with prayer and a reflection on the Word.
This Sunday we celebrated The Baptism of the Lord– What a great opportunity for the team to reflect on their own baptism, its importance and what it means to them. Some reflection points could stem from questions such as:
- How has God taken me the by the hand and formed me? (Isaiah 42:6).
- To whom have I brought the Good News? (Acts 10:36)
- When has Jesus come to me in my life, in circumstances when his presence makes me feel uncomfortable?
Or if looking ahead, the forthcoming Sunday is the 2nd in Ordinary Time, some reflection points could include:
- When has God become my strength (Isaiah 49:5
- What words of greeting have I used this past week to people I have had contact with. Would they have recognised me as a Christian? (1 Corinthians 1:1-3)
- In what way have I been a witness to Jesus Son of the living God? (John1.34)
Spend some time in evaluating
Look back over the Christmas Season, or longer:
What worked well?
What do we want to build on during 2014?
Rite of Acceptance– Discernment of who is ready, and when. RCIA 18.3 says ‘two dates in the year, or three, if necessary, are to be fixed as the usual times…’.
The 3rd and 5th Sundays in Ordinary Time have appropriate readings. If you are planning this rite for January/February 2014, is everything planned? Have another look at RCIA37, 38 & 42.
Which of your Inquirers:
- shows evidence of that first faith seen in the period of evangelisation;
- shows an initial conversion- and desire to change their life for a relationship with God in Christ; evidenced by feelings of repentance, a start to calling on God in prayer, and a sense of Church,
- has had some contact with members of the community and priest
- and wants to enter the catechumenate.
Is the rite to celebrated within Mass: Sunday or other, or as a celebration on its own, and who of the community is to be invited?
Rite of Election
The discernment process for who is to receive the sacraments of initiation continues, with ongoing reference to RCIA 107.
Rite of Reception
Are there baptised Christians who are ready to be received into full communion with the Catholic church and, how is that going to be prepared being careful to avoid anything that would equate these candidates for reception with catechumens.
Perhaps end your session with a hymn of praise, and keep a record of decisions made.
If you have new members in your team, why not introduce them to journaling. Keeping a spiritual journal can be very rewarding and it doesn’t have to take up too much time.