Four strategies guaranteed to get parents involved in their children’s RCIA process

8 thoughts on “Four strategies guaranteed to get parents involved in their children’s RCIA process”

  1. I know this senario does not work for everyone, but we have had great success in including parents and other siblings in everything we do with RCIA. They know from the first interview that they are an integral part of their childs faith formation. They are invited to attend all of the sessions – even reluctant parents come around as the child begins to lead them or draw them in. It becomes a family affair. We see the families participate in the Sunday liturgy then go over to the Family Center for a light breakfast followed by the sessions. It seems to be working very well. Yes there are times when they are not present but as we move further into the process those times become less and less. I think that this is a sure sign that something is happening with the whole family.

  2. Rita Burns Senseman

    Elaine, this is a fabulous scenario! I completely agree with you that involving the entire family is ideal. And, I also agree that you are reading the “sign” correctly that something special is happening with the whole family. Good to know that parishes are using this family-based approach.

  3. We have a (pretty much) fully implemented process for children/teens, that begins with Family Inquiry. Weekly Family Sessions make all the difference! Parents share with us later that they realize their own conversion, their own readiness, was what made their family stronger- and able to choose a life of faith- far beyond “First Communion.” For those that stick with it, we see them years later, week after week, still walking the walk with their children.

    1. Rita Burns Senseman

      Lisa, I’m so glad to hear your story. I’m more and more convinced that family-based RCIA with children is the way to go. Sounds like it’s conversion happening in your parish! Do siblings of all ages come to your Family Sessions?

  4. This is a wonderful resource. For us, apart from setting expectations on the first day, we get the parents engaged and excited about the program. Before class starts, we talk to each child and parent about how they are doing & really get to know them: sports, hobbies, work, family, etc. We always remind them to “participate, don’t anticipate” and that “we live what we learn.” We also try to keep the discussion interesting for all ages. We use examples from Spongebob to teen music to workplace-related ones.

    We are blessed to have very supportive parents and families. We never had any problem with parents and yes, since we relate to all ages, we welcome other family members. Sometimes, we also do breakout sessions, too (adults & teens/kids).

  5. Rita Burns Senseman

    Wow, Adrian, it sounds like you have a wonderful, inviting and flexible process, i.e. you welcome all family members. Keep up the good work and give us some more good ideas for engaging kids of all ages, and their parents!

  6. Mary Kay Wallace

    I’d really like to get in touch with one or more of those who have implemented Family Sessions, to have an idea of what we might work toward in our parish. Would any of you be willing to share how you have begun and then built into it, how it’s structured to have even siblings present, how many catechists you have, what extended team members there are, etc.?

    1. Rita Burns Senseman

      Hi Mary Kay,
      I have done family sessions in my previous parish and am about to start again in my present parish. We just began meeting with parents and kids together and invite sponsor families to join. We meet in intergenerational group, but do split into various age groups during some of the sessions. I like to have a catechist for each age group (parents, younger and older children) when it’s possible. It does take awhile to build the team. Friends on the Way is a great resource for family sessions.
      You just have to plunge in and start! Let me know if you want to talk more! Rita

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