I was having a look through some of the previous blogs and wishing that I had taken the time to send in a comment to ‘Open in the Spirit’ (June 1st 2009) and ‘Spreading the Word – Mass in the Park’ (June 27 2009). Both indicated how much we rely on others to help make things happen. Arranging two teams of catechists, one to support enquirers and one to support candidates is quite a challenge, and the logistics of arranging a Mass in the open air in a public park for the parishioners of six parishes is even more testing. That both events continued says much not only for the organisation but also for those who offered their assistance. Yet how many times do we see the ‘usual suspects’ being involved, or rather how often do we forget to look a little deeper to find those with hidden talents.
In this Sunday’s 1st reading ( Ezek 2:2-5) and in the Gospel (Mark 6:1-6) we hear that a prophet is not acknowledged in their own town. While Paul (2 Cor 12:7-10) explains, that by God’s grace, it is Paul’s weaknesses that make him strong. I bet there are lots of people in our parishes who don’t realise they have strengths that could assist the RCIA team: they just need somebody to discern their talents.
Consider the retired, part-time workers, or mothers with school age children: they will have a variety of experience. They may even include teachers, catechists or just parishioners with an interest in scripture or the church: good catholics. At the recent study day at Tooting Bec entitled ‘One of Us’, examples were given of a single parent, and of a carer, who weren’t trained catechists, but who had the skills to be involved with those at the pre-inquiry stage. Identify 3 or 4 like these and you have a pre-enquiry team.
List those who have ministries as readers, welcomers, eucharist ministers: are there some who may with a little support consider assisting in dismissal catechesis?
Pair an experienced catechist with a welcomer for the pre-enquiry stage. Perhaps some of the eucharistic ministers would be willing to explore the liturgical symbols or eucharistic sacramentality as part of a mystagogy team. You only have to ask!
Have a refresh of RCIA 9. It directs that ‘the initiation of adults is the responsibility of all the baptised’, and ‘the entire community must help … throughout the process of initiation’.
So dig deeper and look at the whole community, I bet there are people who can assist, but have never been considered. There is a lot of untapped talent in the community: it just needs some discernment to recognise it.
- Ask each team member to suggest 3 people who are good listeners and willing to talk about what it means to be a catholic.
- Ask leaders from each ministry to suggest people.
- Have an open evening for all involved in parish ministry to discuss involvement in RCIA.
- Make enquiries of parents at the school gate.
- Don’t overburden those who volunteer.
- Allow people to decline.
- If the time is not right, leave the door open to be able to ask again in the future.
Don’t waste the talent in your own community!
If you want to explore the above see www.teamrcia.com Who’s on your team & 100 ways to involve parishioners in the RCIA