Diana Macalintal and I recently spent a couple days away to do extensive planning for TeamRCIA for the coming year. Before we left, we had a conference call with the other two team members that make up TeamRCIA—Rita Ferrone and Rita Burns Senseman.
Regional RCIA training institutes
On our call, we talked through some ideas for providing diocesan and regional training institutes in 2014. We are asking diocesan leaders to brainstorm with us around the idea of offering a two-part event: a solid grounding in the principles and structure of the RCIA, followed by some proven, practical ways of involving the entire parish community in the initiation process. We’ll be sending out regular updates as we move through the planning process, so stay tuned.
With that big goal in mind, Diana and I then took a step back to look at the entire TeamRCIA structure. We wanted to first of all notice what is working well, and second explore new ways that we might help parish teams in the future.
Based on the feedback we get from you, there are four areas we are happy with.
Webinars for RCIA teams
There is growing participation in the monthly webinars. This is good news for us, because we truly enjoy doing them. And we hope it is good news for you and your teams, because your support means that we will continue to provide low-cost, very convenient monthly training for your ministry. We have a lot of great ideas for future topics, but you don’t have to rely on our imagination alone. Send us an e-mail anytime of day or night if you think of something you’d like to focus on in the next webinar.
Online RCIA courses
The recent Total RCIA Training Course was a big success. We had enough requests for it after the registration discount window expired in June that we re-offered it again this month.
Course for priests?
Also, based on your feedback, we are considering an audio course just for priests. If you are a priest, we’d like to hear your thoughts. Would an audio course be helpful to your ministry? What topics would be most useful? If you are not a priest, what do you think your pastor would want to learn about?
We launched three TeamRCIA membership levels at the beginning of the summer as a way to build a stronger relationship with you. Honestly, we were blown away by the response. Over 400 people signed up at one of the three levels between June and August. If you are already a member, and if you have any suggestions for us about the membership process, don’t be shy! We’re learning with you as we build this. If you aren’t yet a member and you would like to know more about membership, you can see our short introductory video here.
Weekly catechesis for catechumens
This year marks the final year of writing for both Faith, Life, & Creed and Friends on the Way — our downloadable, weekly resources for adult and children’s catechesis. We are in awe of Mary Birmingham (Faith, Life, & Creed) and Janet Miller (Friends on the Way) who have labored long and hard over these amazing and beautiful resources. They have given all of us a great gift in this ministry. If you haven’t yet seen these resources, you can download free samples here.
New initiatives to improve RCIA
We also tried to look into the future a little bit. We asked ourselves, if money and time were no object (big “if”, huh?), what could we provide that would really make initiation ministry a priority in every parish? We’re not sure if any of these things will ever come to pass, but who knows? If there is a true need for any of them and we all get behind whatever seems most compelling, anything could happen. Our brainstorms include:
- A catechist school that would be a mix of online and live training
- An annual week-long intensive to go deep into RCIA team training
- A training process for Spanish-speaking teams
- Resources for teenagers in the RCIA
- An online course on discipleship
- An online catechesis for adult confirmation candidates to supplement parish formation
If any of these seem particularly interesting to you or if you have brainstorms to add, shoot me an e-mail. It doesn’t cost anything to dream.
Send your ideas on anything I’ve written about to firstname.lastname@example.org, or add your comments in the box below. Thanks, as always, for your commitment and passion for this ministry.
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