It’s that time of year when catechumenate ministers ask the annual questions: “How many do we have in our RCIA?” and/or “Do we have people for Baptism for the Easter Vigil?” At times, the team can experience pressure to “find” someone as if it is the team’s responsibility to procure candidates for initiation at the Easter Vigil.
All the baptized are responsible for RCIA
If we step back and look at the ritual text, it clearly states that initiation is the responsibility of all the baptized. In paragraphs 4, 5, and 9, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults indicates the initiation takes place in the midst of the community and that “all the baptized” are asked to reach out to those who are seeking to find Christ.
They are to invite the seeker into their homes, engage in personal conversation and encourage the seeker to come to the community’s gatherings.
What the ritual text is reminding all of us is that the work of evangelization is the primary ministry of the baptized. We are challenged to live our daily lives in such a way that others are attracted to ask what motivates to live the way we do. We are challenged as the early Church was to live in a way that unbelievers will also say of us: “See how they love one another.”
There is no “team” in the RCIA
In a closer reading of the ritual text, the word “team” is never used. The text clearly indicates that it is the role of the baptized to provide an example and to support those who are seeking Christ. It is the role of the appointed team to help the community fulfill its responsibility. So the team is to coordinate the process of apprenticeship for those whom the community brings to them.
So, the questions of “How many do we have in our RCIA?” and/or “Do we have people for Baptism for the Easter Vigil?” need to be addressed to the community at large so that together we are the beacons inviting others to “Come and See.”
Share your thoughts
How do you empower your parish community to be “on the team?” How do you encourage them to reach out and invite others to “Come and See?”
“Easter Vigil” by Northfielder | Flickr
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