What research says about teaching adults in the RCIA

5 thoughts on “What research says about teaching adults in the RCIA”

  1. I agree that if an adult had an experience of the Risen Christ, they will hunger for more. Many of our adults have not had this experience. What do we need to do then?

  2. Thank you. This article confirms what we have been doing for several years – Christ first and then doctrine. Some sponsors have questioned this approach but I believe very strongly that, if the candidate or catechumen does not have a relationship with Christ, teaching the doctrine will make no sense. The Church is the bride of Christ so we need to lead others to Christ as the head of the Church and of our faith.

  3. “Once they are aware of having had a significant experience of Christ, we help them reflect on and evaluate that experience.”

    I am in agreement with and use this methodology with my own RCIA and Confirmation Preparation ministry. However, I was wondering if you had more concrete examples of this awareness in Inquiries/Catechumens?

    For me, it may be something as simple as dealing with our catholic approach to the Bible (i.e. we’re not literalists/fundamentalists/creationist) and having that “Wow” lead into a deeper appreciation for Scripture and Tradition–revelation, and God’s Living Word amongst us. Or it may dealing with the story of Original Sin and coming to terms with Salvation History in which we are human and imperfect yet completely loved by God and redeemable (i.e. our lives are not about carrying guilt or carrying bitterness toward our Creator for the lives we have, but rather Good News that is optimistic).

    But honestly, often inquirers/catechumens do come with an expectation that they need to learn rules or doctrine. And for the most part, it’s my attitude of approach that says “Let’s look at what catholics actually DO in this parish and then ask WHY” rather than saying, well let’s read about X in Chapter Y, etc.

    Having said that, I do use Joe Paprocki’s A WELL BUILT FAITH for RCIA because I do think his approach and content (at least for the first half of the book) is consistent with this methodology and helps form the Inquirers/Catechumens into this form of experience to learned faith.

    But I would appreciate some more concrete examples from your own ministry so that when a catechumen/Inquirer has similar experience I may recognize them better as an experience of Christ and help draw them into deeper relationship with Christ’s Body, the church.

  4. Great article. I’m realizing more and more that the “it’s all about me” paragraph is crucially true. I just finished making a new feedback box (designed like the question box from the classic mario world games) for seekers to put their feedback in. The plan is to take 5 minutes near the end of each session to have each seeker fill out a comment card with their impression of the session, so that the following sessions can be built off their feedback. Of course, following up in person or on the phone to the seekers responses to their cards will be essential.

    I did disagree with the second last paragraph. I agree that the boomer generation is not a “lost generation” in the sense that they stopped coming to church. (Quebec is an exception.) But the “boomers” are the generation that lost the catechetical tradition and catastrophically failed to form their children (my own generation). If anything, my own generation is the “lost generation” for this very reason. I went to a Catholic high school, and only two people in my graduating class are still practicing their faith!

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