Rejoice and be glad: An RCIA story of mystagogy

9 thoughts on “Rejoice and be glad: An RCIA story of mystagogy”

  1. REJOICE AND BE GLAD. CONVERSION HAPPENS HERE. The title does not reflect the story. Poor Jane. Her RCIA Leader is untrained as a catechist, and a bully. The godmother came across as sappy. Where is any sign of rejoicing? Where is there any hint of conversion?

  2. That composite RCIA leader is doing harm to a new disciple of Christ. At our baptism we are called to spread the good news. That’s what the elderly Catholic was doing in this story. How long will it take this new disciple (Jane) to get to a point where she wants to share her faith story with another soul in need of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Perhaps longer than would be the case with a leader with a more open heart.

  3. We had a great little community formed this year and I thought that they would really like to stay together. However, the week after Easter they all were at Mass and they were able to break open the word after Mass and share a bit about their week. But this week, one family with 5 children came and worshipped with us, but only one adult neophyte showed up. I am hoping next week will be better and they will still be coming to Mass and sitting with us. I love the new technology because we can reach out in a very intimate way, however, I wonder if a telephone call would be more effective.

  4. What a horror story! I pray for all the “Janes” out there and pray esp. that they might also find a kind, loving soul to be the face of Christ and his Body the church at just the time they need it.

    One of my neophytes is 19 years old and she was counting down the days to her baptism. In part, she desired baptism because she had heard (outside our sessions) how it washed away her sins, including original sin. She deeply desires to live a life free of sin, but is also, naturally a bit scared about her First Reconciliation. Our group, which now focuses half our gathering time on the Sunday Gospel and how that relates to our lives, is going to also begin sharing over the coming weeks what it means to us (as team members) to go to Reconciliation and to answer their questions. We are scheduling their First Reconciliation at a special time with our pastor and I know that God will rock their worlds, once again!, in this sacrament.

  5. I have known people like the Godmother— Fr Keating, a well known Trappist, is one and he’s anything but sappy. My wife is another. You somehow sense God’s presence in each, which slowly can lead you to see God in more and more people. And all is well…

  6. Carolyn Stucke

    How do we keep our Neophytes after the Easter Vigil? Over my years of coordinating RCiA I have learned some things that seem to help.
    1. From the very first interview, stress that RCIA in this parish/cluster has four periods and all of them are important and it is expected that Neophytes continue attending through Pentecost. As they enter each new period, it is again stressed.
    2. Have continual “Check in” interviews during each period with the sponsor and Candidate. Again stress what is expected and beneficial
    3. Have Sponsor Training so the sponsor is on board with the ideal.
    4. Call the Catechetical Sessions “Sessions” not classes. Team members and candidates share their faith stories of conversion, struggles and triumphs in conversation not lectures.
    5. Help Candidates experience a variety of prayer experiences but always stressing that the Eucharist is our #1 prayer and necessary each week.
    6. Each session discuss what happened at last Sunday’s Liturgy. Help the candidates get the whole picture.
    7. Have year- round RCIA so people can start whenever the Spirit prompts them. That gives us all time for the whole process with no pressure to “get done” by Easter. That gives plenty of time for conversion to happen.
    8. Make sessions interesting with lots of input from the Candidates and Sponsors. Lecturing is the easiest way to lead a session and also the least effective way to lead to conversion. Use a variety of methods to combat boredom, even during Mystagogy.
    9. Recruit a good team so Candidates can see the faith response of different people and learn that the goal is to be part of the whole.

    These things seem to work for us.
    Carolyn Stucke

  7. We had a very interesting discernment period before the Rite of Acceptance. We were concerned about the lack of engagement of our younger candidates and lack of involvement, especially in our #1 prayer: Mass, of our adult candidates. We spent several sessions in discernment, especially the Rite Book’s description of the church’s expectations. We broke open what P. 42 says about this first step and what that might look like. Then we went to a series of interviews with team, candidate, parent (in the case of the children), and sponsor. Together, we decided that for many of them, this is not yet their time. Some parents and grandparents were not happy with this mutual decision, but we team members were confident that the collaborative decisions were right. As it turns out, many candidates have dropped out and not returned to sessions. We are not sure what this might mean, but the sacraments for those who discerned their own readiness held great meaning. Our sharing, questions, and exploration since the Easter Vigil has deepened and we are having very warm, comfortable sharing in these post-sessions. It was scary for the team to do these deep discernments, but well worth it.

  8. The percentage of people who continue after the Easter Vigil and who get involved in ministry is always low because it seems the people in RCIA caught the “Catholic fever” which means not going to Mass every week-end, not contributing financially to the Church, not getting involved in ministry. The folks who have stayed and continue coming to Mass, contributing financially and getting involved in ministry are “older” folks who have come for various reasons but they take this conversion seriously.

    1. Nick Wagner

      Hi Bernadette. I am sorry to hear that you are experiencing low involvement among those who participate in your catechumenate process. I would, however, point out a couple of things. First, the goal of the catechumenate is not normally to get people to participate in the ministries of the parish. The primary goal is to get seekers to become missionary disciples who are evangelizing in the world. And the good news is that nationally that seems to be happening. CARA (The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown), in their blog Nineteen Sixty-Four, notes that “there is no current and credible source” for the gloomy statistics that we lose anywhere from 50% to 90% of new Catholics after initiation. In fact, just the opposite is the case. CARA estimates an 84% retention rate for those who go through the RCIA process. Click here to read more: http://nineteensixty-four.blogspot.com/2016/02/how-many-catholic-converts-stay-quick.html.

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