The parish is the RCIA catechetical plan

RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) image posted by TeamRCIAI commented in an earlier post that if you are having difficulty moving from an abbreviated RCIA program to a complete catechumenate process, one roadblock may be the lack of volunteer catechists needed for 52-weeks of catechetical sessions. I then suggested you take the number of sessions you currently have scheduled and spread them out throughout the liturgical year. So you are doing the same amount of catechesis, but it is now taking place about once a month instead of once a week.

In this post, I’m going to show you how to significantly increase the level of catechesis the parish provides, without adding any more volunteers to your process and barely any more work to your to do list.

RCIA catechesis throughout the parish

The key is to rely on your primary team member—the parish community. Just for fun, I Googled “parish calendar.” I chose one of the parishes that popped up to see what they have going on. I counted over 20 potential catechetical events in just one week! And only one of those events was run by the “catechetical ministry” of the parish.

I looked at a few more calendars, and then I made up my own fictional version based on a mash-up of several typical parishes. Your parish won’t have all the events I’ve listed, but you’ll have others that I didn’t. In Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us, the U.S. bishops said the parish is the curriculum. Your parish calendar is your RCIA curriculum for the catechumens.

Below is my fictionalized curriculum. This is a suggested catechetical plan, based on the calendar I made up, for a typical parish. You will need to rely on the sponsors to help you implement this plan. If the sponsors are not up to the task, you can still pull this off, but it will mean more coordination and follow up from you or from another team member. For this plan, we’re going to assume your next Rite of Acceptance will be celebrated on September 28, 2008 at the 10 a.m. Mass.


Sep. 28 Rite of Acceptance

Oct. 1 Catechetical session (catechumens and sponsors)

Oct. 5 Sunday Mass (with dismissal)

Oct. 5 Catechumens (and sponsors) are invited to participate in the Small Christian Community faith sharing after the 10 am Mass

Oct. 12 Sunday Mass (with dismissal)

Oct. 13-17 Catechumens (and sponsors) are invited to parishioners’ homes for dinner

Oct. 19 Sunday Mass (with dismissal)

Oct. 22 Catechumens (and sponsors) are invited to participate in the Teen Bible Study

Oct. 26 Sunday Mass (with dismissal)

Oct. 31 Catechumens (and sponsors) attend the Knights of Columbus Halloween Dance

Nov. 2 Sunday Mass (with dismissal)

Nov. 3 Catechumens (and sponsors) are invited to participate in the Just Faith meeting

Nov. 5 Catechetical session (catechumens and sponsors)

Nov. 9 Sunday Mass (with dismissal)

Nov. 10-14 Catechumens (and sponsors) are invited to parishioners’ homes for dinner

Nov. 16 Sunday Mass (with dismissal)

Nov. 20 Catechumens (and sponsors) are invited to join the choir for rehearsal and sing at the Christ the King Mass

Nov. 23 Sunday Mass (with dismissal)

Nov. 29 Catechumens (and sponsors) are invited to help decorate the church for Advent

Nov. 30 Sunday Mass (with dismissal)

Dec. 3 Catechetical session (catechumens and sponsors)

Dec. 5 Catechumens (and sponsors) participate in First Friday Adoration

Dec. 7 Sunday Mass (with dismissal)

Dec. 8-12 Catechumens (and sponsors) are invited to parishioners’ homes for dinner

Dec. 14 Sunday Mass (with dismissal)

Dec. 17 Catechumens (and sponsors) are invited to participate in the monthly liturgy committee meeting

Dec. 21 Sunday Mass (with dismissal)

Dec. 25 Catechumens (and sponsors) celebrate Christmas liturgy together

Dec. 28 Sunday Mass (with dismissal)

Well, you get the idea. Take a look at your own parish calendar and find places you can insert the catechumens into the ongoing life—the curriculum—of your parish. Once you know what your curriculum looks like, you can start using it to expand your abbreviated RCIA program into a full, ongoing catechumenate process.


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picnic at central park by juanjolostium | Flickr

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