Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey about the needs of inquirers, catechumens, and candidates in your RCIA processes. Over 200 people completed the survey, and you can see a summary of the results here.
The highest need, by far, is a need for more information about sacraments. 129 of you gave that a 5-rank (highest need out of 5 possible points). And 45 more of you ranked this need at 4.
The next highest need, which is related, is more information about liturgical practices. 103 of you ranked that need as a 5, and 69 ranked it as a 4.
The lowest needs identified are more information about church governance and more information about Rome, the Vatican, and the pope. For those, only 28 of you and 37 of you, respectively, gave those needs a 5.
The results were a little surprising to me. I wouldn’t have guessed before the survey that sacraments and liturgy would have ranked so highly. I might have guessed that church governance would rank low, but I thought non-Catholics might be looking for more information about the Vatican and the pope than was indicated in the results.
Discussion vs. apprenticeship models
One result that confirmed my hunch was the question about how your inquirers, catechumens, and candidates learn best. 187 of you gave either a 4 or a 5 to the discussion option. That squares with my experience and my sense of how most teams are catechizing. However, one of the lowest scores was for apprenticeship. That worries me a little. Discussion is an effective method of catechesis, but learning to live as Christians is primarily a follow the leader activity. I wonder if teams are really not doing much apprenticing or if they just don’t identify many of their modeling behaviors as apprenticeship. That will be an interesting topic for us to explore on the Web site in the future.
Resources for sacramental formation
However, for the immediate future, we plan to focus on sacraments. We are preparing a second survey that goes a little deeper into the kind of information your catechumens and candidates might need about sacraments. Based on the responses to the follow-up survey, TeamRCIA will begin to develop resources to assist you in forming their catechumens and candidates in Catholic sacramental life.
This is my very non-scientific look at the results. The only useful thing I remember from my college statistics course is that it’s possible to tilt the prism and get different conclusions from the same data. So please don’t be shy about sharing how you see the results. Your take is just as valid as mine. I’d love to hear what you think and what you learned from the survey.
And stay tuned for the survey on sacramental formation!