American Pickers is a reality show on the History Channel that follows two antique dealers around the country as they discover “rusty gold” that they can make a profit on. A usual segment shows them arriving at someone’s house or barn that is filled to the rafters with everything you can imagine. The dealers zero in on the three or four items that might be valuable to their customers back home.
Focus on conversion in the RCIA
When it comes to our ministry in the catechumenate, we sometimes think we have to deliver the whole barn, when what we should be doing is focusing in on the few things that are really going to convert seekers to Jesus.
In the precatechumenate, for example, we could be doing way less. Focus on just those elements in paragraph 42 of the RCIA and on the questions the seekers have.
The RCIA is for the unbaptized (mostly)
In the catechumenate, we tend to include people who don’t belong there: baptized people from other traditions, Catholics who only need confirmation, and parishioners who want some updating on their Catholic faith. (We can include people who were baptized as infants and had no further formation—see RCIA 400—but many times the baptized candidates have had some formation already.)
During mystagogy, some parishes try to provide another series of formation sessions, ministry signups, and social gatherings. The main setting for mystagogy, however, is the Sunday Masses of the Easter Season. The main “content” is mystagogical preaching (see RCIA 247).
Zero in on only what the RCIA asks of us
If you are feeling overwhelmed by all that you have to accomplish in the catechumenate ministry in your parish, take a close look at what you are including in that ministry. It may be that you are taking on more than the ministry requires. By focusing on what the RCIA actually asks of us, we might be able to accomplish a lot more. Look through all the things you are offering and zero in on the core elements that are going to convert seekers to Jesus.
See also these related articles:
- This little light of mine — how to let it shine
- RCIA unwrapped
- The power of ten — how to generate great ideas for RCIA
- How to feed 5,000 on a Tuesday in Advent
- Why RCIA ministry is overwhelming — and what to do about it
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