We didn’t have to travel far for our latest RCIA institute. We drove a little over an hour to the scenic Monterey diocese, our neighbors to the south here in California. We met with over 160 excited RCIA team members from around the diocese, along with a few participants from San José.
RCIA and RICA
This was our first attempt at providing a bilingual institute. We learned a few things to do and not do next time, but everyone seemed grateful for the effort to include both of the major language groups of the area. Lest you think Diana or I acquired overnight fluency, you should know that the Spanish side of things was handled by Fr. Rodolfo Contreras, pastor of St. Theodore’s parish in Gonzales, California.
Fr. Rodolfo was only recently appointed as pastor, and he has a very full schedule just trying to learn the ropes in his new parish. So we are very grateful for the time and energy he gave to this institute.
We covered a lot and did a lot in two languages. One thing that many of the participants appreciated was the chance to dive deep into the RCIA texts, examining specific important passages in detail, and discussing how to apply those passages to real-life situations in parish settings.
Specifically, we did an exercise in which we created a profile of someone who was seeking to become Catholic. We made this person as real as possible, building a “backstory” that focused on the needs in that person’s life. Then we looked at how the four pillars of catechesis found in paragraph 75 of the RCIA are lived out in a typical parish, and how those real life examples of parish formation could answer the needs of our fictional seeker.
A terrific leadership team
The Monterey diocese is served by a terrific pastoral team who collectively wear a lot of hats besides “RCIA.” But you wouldn’t know it from the smoothness of the event and the hospitality offered to all of the participants. They made it seem like their full-time effort was to serve the RCIA teams who came from 46 parishes and four counties to learn more about the adult initiation process. We are grateful to Tish Scargill (Director of Catechetical Ministries), Terry Burrows (Associate Director of Catechetical Ministries), Petra Robles (Associate Director for Hispanic Catechesis), and Olga Flores (Administrative Assistant) for all the time and effort they put into creating such a successful event.
If you’d like to be part of an upcoming institute, just click here to see where we will be next in 2014. We also have a bunch of institutes scheduled for 2015, and we will have information up about that soon.
Share your thoughts
If you have already participated in one our institutes, please share a thought in the comment section about what you learned and why that is important to your ministry.