Summer is here, schools are about to break up and those involved with RCIA will soon disperse -if they haven’t already- until september. So how does the community continue to exercise its responsibility in the initiation of adults, when formal RCIA meetings have a break?
… the community must always be fully prepared in the pursuit of its apostolic vocation to give help to those who are searching for Christ. In the various circumstances of daily life, all the followers of Christ have the obligation of spreading the faith according to their abilities. #9
In looking at how the ‘primary minister of initiation’ is the community, Thomas Morris (Morris, T. (1997) The RCIA Transforming the Church. Paulist Press, pp.67-8.) reminds us to ask, what is it about our particular community that makes it distinctive: why do we initiate, and into what do we initiate? This was the theme of the recent RCIA conference, and is a worthwhile exercise to consider. Identify what makes your parish community what it is. What is it that identifies those from your church? Remember that the typical community is made up of those who volunteer, as well as those who don’t.
For those who don’t think they are involved with the catechumenate why not try LIFT. Living in Faith Together is a meal based small group, designed for those who may be too busy to commit to a more formal church group, but want to continue to mature their faith. On the basis that everyone has to eat, we combine a meal while sharing the Gospel. We meet once a month in each other’s homes. The host provides the home, somewhere to sit and eat, and everyone brings a plate of food. The evening starts with a reading of the Gospel for the following Sunday. There is time for reflection, or for lectio divina, and then discussion throughout the meal. It can be adapted to involve a couple of families with the catechumens, or to integrate with other groups and members of the community. A meal for the team, or catechumens, or sponsors, would help keep the continuity of RCIA being year- round. You could concentrate on a section of the rite; look at individual ministries: sponsors, godparents; or just get together for Christian based conversation.
I make a few other suggestions:-
- For the team, ask everyone to read the rite and reflect on it.
- As a team, attend a day retreat.
- Explore and find new resources – when travelling in England or abroad, go into a local church and ask how they practice RCIA: this is a great way for picking up ideas, particularly when you get chatting to the local parishioners.
- Ask everyone to read a book, article, or resource and be prepared to give some feedback on it in September: for example, look at the last couple of years of Catechumenate. (Catechumenate published bimonthly by Liturgy Training Publications.The Liturgy Office offers a subscription service in UK)
- Consider RCIA 75(2) & (4) and involve catechumens, candidates and neophytes in something in the parish, SVP, charity, social justice, Fair Trade.
- What is going on in your neighbourhood that would be a living example of what it means to be a Christian?
- Go for a walk, journey together, tell your stories.
- Be prepared for when someone comes knocking at the door, so you haven’t got to turn them away, but can enable an enquirer to start their journey when they want to, at their pace, rather than on a fixed process dictated by the school year.
Share any good ideas, what was challenging, what worked well.