What is your RCIA team’s objective for the catechumens?

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3 thoughts on “What is your RCIA team’s objective for the catechumens?”

  1. I have always enjoyed and benefited from your advice and tips regarding RCIA but I find myself a little wary of this article. It seems to put more weight on social action for justice than the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity makes.

    Before Section 7 and its emphasis on renewing and constantly perfecting the temporal order, comes Section 6: “The mission of the Church pertains to the salvation of men, which is to be achieved by belief in Christ and by His grace. The apostolate of the Church and of all its members is primarily designed to manifest Christ’s message by words and deeds and to communicate His grace to the world…”

    Section 6 continues to explain that this is also an apostolate for the laity and describes what this might look like:

    “There are innumerable opportunities open to the laity for the exercise of their apostolate of evangelization and sanctification. The very testimony of their Christian life and good works done in a supernatural spirit have the power to draw men to belief and to God; for the Lord says…However, an apostolate of this kind does not consist only in the witness of one’s way of life; a true apostle looks for opportunities to announce Christ by words addressed either to non-believers with a view to leading them to faith, or to the faithful…The words of the Apostle should echo in all hearts, “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16).(1)”

    I suggest that the order of these aspects of the apostolate point to an important truth; that the apostolate of evangelisation comes before social action and the measure of the success of social action must be whether people have been evangelised.

    I would therefore suggest that the preeminent work of the RCIA is to produce missionary disciples (Evangelii Gaudium) who evangelise. Saint Pope Paul VI outlines in Evangelii Nuntiandi (an important document that deepens the understanding of apostolate described in the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity) that the “witness” of life (21) must be accompanied by proclamation (22) and that we will know that both have been successful when a transformation has occurred that includes a “program of life”, and “a visible entry into a community of believers” (23). However, the “touchstone of evangelization” is that the evangelized person goes on to evangelize others (24).

    Saint Pope Paul VI continues by making it plain that “Evangelization…is a complex process made up of varied elements: the renewal of humanity, witness, explicit proclamation, inner adherence, entry into the community, acceptance of signs, apostolic initiative. These elements may appear to be contradictory, indeed mutually exclusive. In fact they are complementary and mutually enriching. Each one must always be seen in relationship with the others.” (24)

    So both are important but that they must be seen in relationship. I would suggest that the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, and the many documents on evangelisation that have followed, make it clear that the apostolate of the laity is first and foremost one of evangelisation and that this should inform all apostolates of social action for justice.

    I may be misreading your emphasis, so I look forward to your further articles on this subject to clarify.

  2. As I interview new inquirers, I am touched by how many are motivated to inquire by witnessing the life of a Catholic friend. Many mention the peace, the kindness, the generosity in the lives of their Catholic friends and they want to have the same way of living. This is true evangelism when we live in such a way that others are attracted to Christ.
    As we introduce the inquirers to our Lord, they also become more at peace, more patient and kind and they begin to understand unconditional love and giving without expecting in return. This is the beginning of social justice. It takes time but they begin to understand that we are one and that social justice issues are important.
    Thank you for this article.

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