One of the most challenging duties for sponsors is to model an apostolic lifestyle for the catechumens (see RCIA 75.4). Most sponsors live an apostolic lifestyle, but if you asked them to describe what that looked like or how they do it, they might have some difficulty.
Why an RCIA sponsor’s lifestyle is so important
Your role as an RCIA team member is to help the sponsors both live an apostolic lifestyle more intentionally and to be able to communicate the basics of that lifestyle to the catechumens. So let’s start with why living an apostolic lifestyle is important in the first place.
Jesus had a single mission. You know what that is, but sponsors might not be able to readily name it. You will want help them articulate that Jesus’ sole purpose was to bring people into the joy of belonging to God’s Kingdom. After his resurrection, Jesus handed on that singular mission to the apostles and the rest of the disciples. And the apostles handed it on to us. So it is crucial that the sponsors are very clear that their mission and the mission of the catechumens is to tell people about the great joy that awaits them in God’s Kingdom.
What Jesus meant by “Kingdom”
TeamRCIA Webinar: Four Key Ways RCIA Sponsors Can Make Your Job Easier
with Diana Macalintal & Nick Wagner
In this info-packed webinar, we’re going to delve into why the role of the RCIA sponsor is so important. Many of us know what a sponsor does, but maybe there is more a sponsor could do. What if every sponsor had specific tasks for training their catechumens or candidates in the areas of Christian worship, Catholic teaching, parish community life, and discipleship in the world? How would that change the RCIA conversion process in your parish?
Don’t miss this essential webinar. Invite your team. Let your colleagues know. Take a step toward a more powerful RCIA process.
Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Time: 2:00p to 3:00p Eastern Time / 11:00a to 12:00p Pacific Time
Click here to register.
What exactly do we mean by the joy of God’s Kingdom? We mean what Jesus meant. Jesus said that the poor, the mournful, the meek, the hungry, the merciful, the peacemakers, the persecuted will all be blessed. They will all have the joy of the Kingdom (see Mt 5:1-12). Our job and the job of the catechumens is to bring that good news to all of these people who don’t know they can have such boundless joy.
How RCIA sponsors can live like an apostle
So how do we do that? How do the sponsors do that? How do they teach the catechumens to do that? We all do that by living the way the apostles lived. An apostolic lifestyle is characterized by radical liberation. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we now live free from all those things in the world that deprive us of joy. We are free from poverty, mourning, meekness, hunger, and persecution. Unfortunately, it is part of our human nature to believe in scarcity. We are fearful of not having enough, and we hoard our resources. We worry. We fret. Apostles don’t fret. Apostles are filled with gratitude for God’s abundant gifts. And because we have abundant gifts, we give gifts freely to those who have less.
In other words, the way to bring joy to a hungry person is to bring food. The way to bring joy to a persecuted person is to bring mercy. The way to bring joy to a mourning person is to bring laughter. We live an apostolic lifestyle by bringing real, tangible joy to those who need it most. We bring liberation from whatever is oppressive.
That’s part one—bring liberation. Part two is, we do so in the name of Christ. The message of liberation always has to be given in response to the liberation that Christ gave to us. Those who are oppressed and who we hope to serve should always know that Christ is source of the joy that motivates us.
What would happen if catechumens became apostles?
As we said, many sponsors are already living an apostolic lifestyle—a life of joy and freedom in Christ. But think what would happen if they were able to clearly identify their joy and if they were able to say how Christ had brought them that joy. Think what might happen if they were able to teach their catechumens how to find such radical joy in their own lives. And what might happen if the catechumens could learn from their sponsors how to bring that joy to others?
That’s our challenge as RCIA team members. We have to live lives of explicitly Christ-centered, joyful liberation and teach the sponsors how to do the same.
See also these related articles:
- Why RCIA sponsors are like poultry
- Do your RCIA sponsors know the single reason for Jesus’ death and resurrection?
- Five essential elements of an RCIA sponsor’s job description
- A simple plan for involving RCIA sponsors in providing a suitable catechesis
- Are you asking your RCIA sponsors to sacrifice enough? A three-part job description
- Seven ways AA sponsors can inspire RCIA sponsors
- Spouses as sponsors in the RCIA process
- 9 tasks for RCIA sponsors on Sunday
- Who sponsors child catechumens?
- How do you train sponsors for the RCIA?