It comes at the start of the summer holiday when team members begin their summer break.
In the gospel of Mathew we hear how Jesus wants to get away for some quiet time, and takes the step of casting off in a boat, as he tries to leave the crowds behind.
Many parishes will traditionally cut down on parish activities during the school summer holiday and RCIA is generally no exception. Yet people come searching for God at all times of the year. They don’t stop searching because it is the summer school break. Not everyone has children who are at school. Family traumas continue to occur in holiday time as well as term time. Not everyone will be in a position to get away on a holiday, perhaps because of work, dependants or financially, and these could be the very people in your neighbourhood who would want to seek out the living God.
You may see someone new sitting at the back of your church, or someone loitering in the foyer, or even the knock on the door of the priest’s house. Well, I would like to suggest that Sunday’s gospel tells us, that whatever we do, we do not say, ‘sorry come back in September’.
This gospel sends a clear message that God uses the available resources, – in this case- the disciples to meet the immediate need of the inquirer.
- Jesus tells the disciples ‘There is no need for them to go: give them something to eat yourselves.’
The disciples became welcomers.
How will your parish welcome inquirers during the summer break? How will your RCIA team feed those who seek the living God?
- Enlist, a rota of welcomers for the next six weeks, so that one person covers a particular week, give their contact details to the parish office and the resident clergy.
- Their task is to be prepared to meet with any inquirer, chat over a cup of tea and listen to them, and be able to talk about one’s own faith. Some contact with one or more of the parish community over the summer makes it more likely the inquirer will still be there in September.
- Remind the parish, that it is not solely the task of the RCIA team to welcome new members into the church, but that it is the ‘… responsibility of all the baptised. Therefore the community must always be fully prepared in the pursuit of its apostolic vocation to give help to those who are searching for Christ.’ RCIA 9
Why not share your experience of how your parish welcomes inquirers this summer.