10 Ways to Involve Parishioners in the RCIA Process

7 thoughts on “10 Ways to Involve Parishioners in the RCIA Process”

  1. One way we have increased participation is to use a worship aid, two-sided folded, which gives the names of the candidates and Elect and also the paragraphs from the RCIA which help to let them know what and why of it.

    Also, more needs to be done for candidates baptized Catholic as infants with no formation who are now adults. (I’m thinking ahead to the upcoming revision of the RCIA.) 3 out of 5 of our candidates meet this criteria. We have year round RCIA and we already have several more like this entering the process this winter.

    I believe the collective Communion of Saints is praying them home.

  2. We started a new tradition within my parish this year, where we held an hour of Adoration immediately following the Stations of the Cross, last Friday night. The hour was dedicated to praying for and with those candidates entering into full communion with the Church at the Easter Vigil. It offered an opportunity for parishioners to gather with the candidates in prayer. We started with some sacred music, gently playing in the background, then our DRE read a meditation from Saint Mother Teresa’s published works; then we had a period of sacred silence, where everyone was encouraged to come forth and kneel before Jesus, to touch the base of the Monstrance. We concluded with Benediction. It was a very powerful experience.

  3. Sandy Gallegos

    I love all these ideas and we do use some of these. But one thing I hesitate about is having the already baptized candidates be involved at the parish’s communal reconciliation service. Maybe our parish is different than many others, but we combine with another parish in both Advent and Lent, with up to 10 priests available for confessions. The lines are long, and it is emphasized that it is not a time for lengthy counseling or discussion with the priest. A candidate’s first confession should be a powerful and memorable experience. They need to feel as relaxed as they can and that the priest has time to listen to them, without the pressure of a long line of people waiting behind them. We recommend they go to one of the regularly scheduled opportunities for confession or to call the rectory and make an appointment with a priest.

  4. Sandy Gallegos

    In our parish we do not feel it is a good idea that our baptized candidates attend the parish communal celebration because there are so many people there that even with 9 or 10 priest, the lines are very long and it’s announced that this is not a time for lengthy counseling or discussion with the priest. We recommend that they go to one of the regularly scheduled confession times or make an appointment with priest so that they have the time to make their first confession without feeling pressured by a long line of people waiting behind them. This is their first experience and it should be powerful and memorable. Communal reconciliation can happen the next time around.

  5. Oops Nick

    The 2nd Sunday in Lent is Transfiguration Sunday.

    We have the great pairing of the Temptations on the 1st Sunday with the Rite of Election

  6. One way we involve the community with the elect and candidates is we ask them to write a brief narration of their journey. We put their story, their name and picture on a half 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper (a different color paper for each person.) On the paper, there are instructions that ask for prayers for this person and or a sacrifice they will make for this person on the final leg of their journey. There are blank lines for this. We distribute them before Mass on two Sundays and ask that they be returned next week. The completed papers are then given to the elect and candidates at their next gathering.
    The elect and candidates get hundreds of responses. There is an overwhelming outpouring of prayer and sacrifice for these elect and candidates. I find it very revealing about the spirituality of our community too. Many comment that they too have gone through RCIA and are so glad they did; some give up tv, deserts for them, one said he’d wear his watch on the wrong hand to remind him to pray for the person he selected, the parishioners all comment on and identify with the story that they shared. It has become a treasured Lenten discipline in our community.

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