Why your RCIA bulletin announcement isn’t working — and what to do about it

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24 thoughts on “Why your RCIA bulletin announcement isn’t working — and what to do about it”

  1. Here is my bulletin insert…
    Looking for peace?
    Needing hope?
    Feeling God’s love?

    RCIA is here for you!
    Resurrection Parish Center
    Call us, to ask your questions.
    We are here to listen…
    Peace, Hope, Love
    Awaits us through Faith

    Inquiry Classes available
    Call: Joanne MacPeek
    418-7171 ext. 216
    Resurrection Parish Mission Statement
    Convinced that Jesus communicates a new life to those who believe in Him, and that He was raised from the dead in order that we might live, we are united to the risen Lord as a people born anew to a life of hope.

    I have one inquirer this year…not sure what is happening
    I am using SEEKING CHRIST and I like it…thanks for the recommendation.

  2. Ever stop and think, “There has to be more to life than chasing my ‘to do’ list.” Well, there is. Join a few other people for a coffee or tea, bring your questions, and discover how Jesus has a plan for each one of us individually that leads to the fullness of a life well lived. Contact: xxx at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

    ( I look forward to your feedback- Della O’Malley)

  3. Deacon Paul Martin

    We do have a bulletin announcement that we use before the RCIA process begins in our parish. However, it is not designed for the Catechumens or candidates. It is designed mainly for the parishioners themselves. This reason for this is that the parishioners know of people who might be interested in deepeing their journey with the Lord. Most of our seekers come from people who have visited our parish seeking a church. I do most of the interviews for these people and the reasons they state for wanting to become part of the Catholic Church and our parish is that they feel the presence of the Spirit at our Masses and the congregation makes them feel welcome. We are a small parish but have anywhere from 4 to 20 people each year in our RCIA process. People come to where they feel wanted and loved. Our parish really tries to live the Gospel message and I believe this is what brings people to our parish and to our RCIA process.

  4. I’m not saying it’s better than anyone else’s, but it works pretty well for us:

    “Searching for a spiritual home? Our “no strings” inquiry series begins (day), (date), at (time). Ideal for learning about Catholicism and for Catholics who have not yet received Eucharist and/or Confirmation. Contact _______ (phone # or e-mail).”

  5. This is the text that goes with a photo of a bright yellow bird taking a drink out of a water spout…
    “Thirsting for God?”
    Do you know someone not baptized or baptized in a non-Catholic Christian tradition, who is thirsting for what it means to become Catholic?
    Do you know someone already Catholic but has not yet received Confirmation & Communion? They may be thirsting too! The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is a place to ask questions and seek understanding. Weekly “no obligation” inquiry sessions start [date, time, place]

    Conoces a alguien que no está bautizado o que ya es catolica pero aun no ha recibido la Confirmacion o la Comunion, que está sedienta de lo que significa ser católico? El Rito de Iniciación Cristiana de Adultos (RICA) es un lugar para hacer preguntas y buscar el entendimiento. Las clases comienzan el [date, time, place].

  6. We have used this…. yet, I will update with clearer language. Thank you for this information.

    The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) a journey for welcoming adult newcomers (inquirers) into the Roman Catholic Church. RCIA prepares the newcomers for the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist by providing a personal journey that leads to a transformation of mind and spirit. Guided by the Gospel and by the examples set by the church members, newcomers find their place in the community of believers. It is a personal journey in which newcomers and team members reexamine and deepen their relationship with God.

    If you are looking into fully realizing your faith walk with the Catholic church by baptism, reconciliation, holy communion or confirmation – you are invited and encouraged to participate in ALPHA! ALPHA begins August 15, 2016! Please register online at http://www.holytrinityladera.org on the home page, bottom left! Come and learn about the Jesus you desire to know better! Any questions or concerns, contact Patti – pwieckert@holytrinityladera.org

  7. Mary Jane Smitherman

    4 weeks before our sessions begin there is an article in our bulletin explaining what the RCIA is. The topics are: 1)What is the RCIA? 2) Who comes to the RCIA? 3)WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT 4)Roles and Ministries in the RCIA
    This seems to be helpful to those who are looking and for those who may have friends or family members they may like to invite. Hopefully it helps the members of the parish be able to understand and give an explanation to those they are inviting. Anyway…it seems to work.

    The final bulletin announcement is :
    The RCIA: A Journey of Faith
    Since Jesus invited His first followers to, “Come, follow me”, the image of journey has been used to describe Christian discipleship. For each of us faith is a journey marked with moments of conversion along the way…..we move from unbelief to initial faith, from sin to repentance, from painful isolation to the joyful experience of a loving community, from fear to love.
    Faith, conversion, repentance, celebration and community – five basic elements that are present in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). The RCIA provides a setting where the journey of faith and moments of conversion can be celebrated within the local Church community. The purpose of the RCIA is literally “the making of Christians”, for as Tertullian in the 4th century wrote “Christians are made, not born.”

    Join us on the journey….

    WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9
    7:00-8:30 PM PARISH HALL

    This invitation is extended to:
    anyone who has never been baptized or
    affiliated with any church and has a desire to be a member of a church community

    anyone who has been baptized in another denomination but is interested in learning about the Catholic faith

    any non-active Catholic who has been away from the Church and would like to get
    re-acquainted

    any adult Catholic who would like to learn more about the Church and mature in their faith

    Childcare Provided

  8. I really liked this article and the suggested bulletin announcements from various people. Thanks. My question is WHERE do we publicize… HOW do we reach…. the potential catechumens, potential inquirers, if not in our church bulletins? All the alternative announcements mentioned with this article are all for church bulletins. Need advice. Thanks.

  9. Mary Jane Smitherman

    To Marilyn; Our local newspaper has a church news section. I have also run information and phone # several times. But the best PR is US. What do people see in the way we live our daily lives that they want to be a part of or know more about. One of my inquires once told me the reason they came to RCIA was that they worked in a cafeteria and each day a watched a group at a table make the sign of the cross before they ate. That made a lasting impression and that person has been an active member of our community for over 10 years.

  10. This is GREAT! I have always found this to be a challenge… putting notices in the bulletin. I’m much more comfortable with making announcements at Mass about our process because I’m not as limited by the number of words. I’m eager to see more examples. Further, your language guide is genius. Yes, we catechists tend to get lost in our own liturgical language, and we constantly need to recognize that our seekers often don’t know what we’re talking about.

    My own personal pet-peeve is using the term “RCIA” for explaining what we do. First, it always have to be explained. Always. And that’s never good from a “sales” perspective. Second, and more importantly, it’s generally not all that we do. How many of you also work with baptized Catholics to help them prepare for Confirmation or Eucharist? There is a lot of cross-over that can and does happen in our ministry. Even the latest Confirmation Rite teaches that we should be catechizing our adult Confirmation candidates by modeling the Catechuminate. Not everyone in our programs is preparing for Baptism. So can we finally stop calling what we do the RCIA? For the past several years we’ve been rebranding ourselves as Adult Faith Formation… because when you look at it, the RCIA is really just a subset of the larger need of our adult seekers. Some who come to us will be candidates for the RCIA, but many will not. That doesn’t mean we’re not going to help them on their journey. A process that starts with using the best lectionary based elements of the Catechuminate is a method that can be used for a variety of adult formation needs, but we also need to be mindful of both the needs of the individuals while maintaining the legitimate uniqueness of the RCIA itself.

  11. Barbara A. Smith

    Here is one that caught my eye in a recent bulletin: Welcome Child of God! No matter what your present status in the Catholic Church, No matter your personal history, age, income, background, gender, race, ethnicity or spirituality, or marital situation. No matter your own self-image of holiness or virtue. You belong to Jesus Christ and you belong to us! You are invited, accepted and respected here at the Parish of xyz. Take our hands, Lord Jesus, leading us in courage to confront with courage the forces which oppress and divide. Take our hearts, Lord Jesus, and open them to the truth which will set other free. Accompany us on our way, Lord Jesus, as we seek to share our Roman Catholic faith and life in your Spirit. Followed by meeting time, place, phone number, contact name,etc.

  12. Here is what we we have been using, maybe too long TMI?

    Rooted from the very beginning of Church tradition, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.) is the path for welcoming new inquirers into our community of believers. If you, or someone close to you, are considering becoming a member of the Catholic community here at Our Lady of Mount Carmel then please accept our invitation to join with us weekly on Sunday, following the 8:00 AM Mass in the Small Chapel on the James Street side of the Church. In a small group discussion format, we use this opportunity to discuss the readings of the week, “unpacking” layers of meaning, church tradition, and church teachings. Most importantly, we share the relevancy of these readings in our lives today. We also discuss questions regarding the Rite itself, look at what the Rite offers all of us during this wonderful spiritual journey, and how the Church uses the Rite for those seeking any or all of the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and First Eucharist.

    We encourage those already members of the community to consider being a part of the RCIA team where by sharing your faith you will receive the gift that comes by helping others grow in theirs.

    Finally, we ask you to consider being sponsors, walking with and supporting the inquirers as they grow. Please welcome them warmly into our community. For further information, contact John Spotorno

  13. Ok, here goes! Starting next Sunday 🙂

    Becoming Catholic announcement:

    Are you wondering what life is all about, perhaps asking yourself, “What is my purpose, or Why am I here?” You are welcome to seek answers with us! While we offer seasonal Connection to Christ groups to all adults, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) group is the particular process by which the unbaptized, and baptized Christians of other faith traditions, are especially invited to explore Catholic spirituality in community, deepening our relationship with Jesus Christ. Our group meets weekly on Sunday mornings, year-round. The faith journey is personal to each one, and is often characterized by an awakening or conversion of the heart, that leads one to desire an authentic life of Christian discipleship. Through the foundational sacraments of initiation- Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist, we encounter and participate fully in the mystery of Jesus Christ’s life, saving death and Resurrection. God wants us to know His love and fulfilling plan for our lives! As Pope Francis teaches us, “God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy.” Are you ready for that radical forgiveness? Come and share your Master’s joy! We welcome all inquiries and look forward to accompanying you soon. Please email Lee Hulburt, RCIA Coordinator-or call her at (858) 483-3030, ext. 117.

  14. Wow! I’ve never seen so many responses immediately after one of your posts. It really shows that this is a crucial topic.
    I am so guilty of those articles in the bulletin, yet I have always wondered how to improve them. This will be the major topic of our nest RCIA team meeting..
    Look for our response soon.

  15. Good point regarding the audience that reads the bulletin. So we address the invitation to those in the pews that frequently know someone who may be interested.

    “Inquiries Welcome
    You may have a friend or family member who has never been baptized, or baptized in another Christian faith. An acquaintance or coworker may have asked you questions about the Catholic Church. Someone may indicate to you they are searching for a sense of community, or a desire to hear more of the Good News of Jesus, the Gospel.
    They are all cordially invited to inquire about the Catholic Christian Faith by attending an open informational meeting in early September, look for the date and time. This is their opportunity to ask questions about “things Catholic” such as what do Catholics believe and what do Catholics do? This is their opportunity to raise the issues that are on their minds or in their hearts. This is their chance to get information with no commitment!
    Those who have never been baptized can investigate what it means to be Christian. Those baptized in another Christian tradition can explore the process to come into full communion with the Catholic Church. And those baptized Catholic as infants but never raided as Catholic can learn about being Confirmed and receiving the Eucharist.
    The three phases of the parish based process to become Catholic will be outlined. The first phase, appropriately called the period of inquiry, is an informal opportunity for interested individuals to begin the journey that may or may not result taking the next step toward full membership in the Church.
    For those that choose, the next step is to enter the more formal process of the Rite for Christian Initiation for Adults (commonly abbreviated to RCIA) which begins in late November and culminates with the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation) that are celebrated at the Easter Vigil in April.
    The first step begins with you, today, as you invite your family members, friends, co-workers, or others to explore what it means to be Catholic.”

  16. On Becoming a Catholic
    St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church
    Have you been thinking about becoming a Catholic? Or have people mentioned to you that they wish they had your faith? Here is an opportunity for you or someone you know to learn more about becoming a Catholic.

    The RCIA Team at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Meredith will be holding two inquiry sessions about the Catholic faith. This is a time to come and ask questions about Catholicism and to learn how you become a Catholic. The sessions are Sunday, September 25, at 11:30 – 12:30 in the Church Hall or on Thursday, September 29, from 7 – 8 in the Church meeting room downstairs next to the office. The entrance is in the back of the Church.

    There is no obligation to continue after the inquiry sessions. The sessions are for adults 18 and older. More information may be found on the Church website at St. Charles Borromeo Meredith NH, by emailing the Church office at office@stcharlesnh.org or by calling the Church office at 279-4403.

  17. A parishioner did a video interview with the parish Director of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults as well as with a woman who had participated in the process. Uploading that video ( after some careful editing) to You tube as well as the parish website, and dividing it into segments is an excellent advertisement . The information reaches seekers – the intended audience, an audience that is young, and not in church. The project entailed much effort and coordination, but was worthwhile.

  18. I do not mean to go on forever, but a couple of things occurred to me while I was writing the first comment and I hit post before I finished. I promise not to say anything else. Honest.

    Social media is the air we breathe .
    1. An up-to-date, attractive, parish facebook page is necessary.

    2. Tweeting has power : #Pope Francis Fan or some hash tag that sparks curiosity creating a desire to follow.

    3. A pastor in the Archdiocese of Boston asks the assembly at the start of Mass to post their location: “At St. Cecelia Church 9 AM Mass” – on Facebook or Twitter.

    Our imaginations are our most powerful tool in our particular context.

  19. “Change the World: Become a Catholic. To get started, contact Judith in the main office for a short interview, to find out how we can meet your needs.”

    We typically get about 12 people each year – one time, we had 26. The Church was very damp after all those Baptisms … 😀

  20. Kathleen Wallace

    We as a parish have a website, we also use Facebook to get the word out. We try to use as much social media as possible for those that are seeking: We invite our church community to join us each week and find success in having 12 different people that present, witness etc not just 1 or 2 people. It gives those journeying different perspectives also it creates community by inviting all.

    Below is what we put in our bulletin:

    Rite of Christian Initiation
    Come Journey with us…

    Whether you were born into the Catholic Faith and are looking to deepen your faith, or inquiring about becoming Catholic, please join us as we explore, rediscover, and share, our Catholic Culture.
    Each week a new topic is offered
    to enrich your faith journey.
    Rite of Christian Initiation Begins:
    “Welcome to R.C.I.A.”
    Thursday September 5, 2019
    6:30 p.m.
    St. Paschal School Café
    All Are Welcome!

  21. Thank you everyone for all the food for thought!
    I will definitely be looking into a new post for our bulletin.

    I’mean also wondering about posting more often to invite new seekers several times a year, instead of just in the fall. Maybe then we can get away from the typical fall to Easter format we seem to be locked into now.

    Any thoughts welcomed

  22. I hope this example is of some use to others. As mentioned in the post, i don’t typically write these announcements for those who ultimately enter into RCIA. We all understand that most enter RCIA through another’s invitation. I hope my bulletin announcement will encourage a parishioner to take the next step and talk to those they know.

    In the book “Becoming Catholic” by David Yamane, he studied the reasons people enter an RCIA program. Did you know 72% of respondents say their family was the main reason they joined the Catholic Church? Many express it was a direct invitation from a family member that prompted their entry to the RCIA program. If you have a spouse, In-Law or other family member who has expressed interest or attends Mass with you, maybe it is time to extend an invitation. The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults will begin XXXXXX. I encourage you to contact me via email or phone. I am always happy to provide additional information about the RCIA program. XXXXXX, RCIA Director- XXX-XXXX or myemail@myparish.org

    Another example:
    A recent survey of those who joined an RCIA program shows that many entered into RCIA to fill the need for family and security in their life. Becoming Catholic was a means to find what was missing in their daily life. Do you know someone who may be struggling with “keeping it all together”? The survey also indicated that almost all RCIA enrollees were invited by a co-worker, friend, or family member. A simple and sincere invitation from a friend is many times all that is needed in their life. If you know someone who may be looking for the peace that comes through faith, I encourage you to extend an invitation. I am always happy to provide additional information about the RCIA program. XXXXX , RCIA Director- XXX-XXXX or myemail@myparish.org.

    God bless all who “Proclaim the Good News to all creation” Mark 16:15

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