How to make parish renewal a byproduct of RCIA

Photo by: Padurariu Alexandru

3 thoughts on “How to make parish renewal a byproduct of RCIA”

  1. Yes, this vision of apprenticeship is what I’m trying to implement. But who is really doing it at their parish? Who can I learn from?

  2. I think one of the challenges to implementing the RCIA fully is an anxiety many have about the degree to which our parishes are evangelized. After reading Sherry Weddell’s Forming Intentional Disciples (OSV), reflecting on how the stages of faith she outlines fit with the periods of the catechumenate, and how we might live out Pope Francis’ radical call to retool all of our ecclesial apparatus for evangelization (Joy of the Gospel), I was pleased to come across Fr. James Mallon’s Divine Renovation (Twenty-Third) and the Alpha course. Neither offer a simple panacea but insofar as the experience of being on Alpha gives parishioners both a kerygmatic moment of their own awakening to the encounter with Jesus Christ and an experience of their own that they can in turn hand on to seekers I think it has done much good. Fr. Mallon once asked why is it that we don’t expect to have a spiritual encounter in our parishes but rather we seek these in the movements, in tertiary orders, and even in the RCIA cocoon, etc. The challenge and promise of an apprenticeship approach to the catechumenate is the capacity to transform the culture of parishes by normalizing the experience of intentional discipleship. Once we have this vision in place then I think we can begin to live into what is the best answer I ever heard of how one might know that a parish has fully implemented the RCIA, that is, when every parishioner has been a sponsor, when each disciple of Christ has experienced the weighty grace of accompanying another person from unbelief to conversion to Christ and are thus part of that great chain of faith. I know of several parishes where this is in place and the capacity for personal and communal transformation is huge!

  3. Here at Saint Rita we try very hard to connect each person with a parish sponsor to mentor them. That is not always easy but we look to people who have participated in our parish retreat and are in some form of ministry, not just liturgical. We ask them to stay in contact with their candidate or catechumen several times a month, inviting them to parish activities and to involvement in the ministries as is possible.
    Yes, many in the parish would not be of much help and we do not always get it correct, but we have had many blessings from the process.

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