Six myths about RCIA in the parish

RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) image posted by TeamRCIA

Myth: A year-round catechumenate process is harder than a school-year program

Every parish team I’ve talked with that has transitioned to an ongoing catechumenate process tells me that the amount of work involved is either the same or less than when they were running a school. See:

Five keys to involving the assembly in the work of Christian initiation

Myth: It takes a long time to become Catholic

In North America, the majority of the seekers in our catechumenate processes are already baptized. Many baptized people do not need to be in the process for very long. See:

For unbaptized catechumens, they need to be in the catechumenate for at least one full liturgical year. However, once they become catechumens, they are at that moment joined to the church. So it does not take very long at all to become a member of the Catholic community. See:

Myth: If we don’t teach directly from the catechism (or a textbook or a video series), we risk not teaching the full doctrine of the Catholic Church

The goal of the catechumenate process is not a mastery of doctrine. It is conversion to the person of Jesus Christ. Pope Francis says that what we are to teach is the first proclamation that Jesus loves you. See:

Myth: The seekers are a small faith community, and it is important for them to all journey together

The goal of the catechumenate process is conversion to the person of Jesus Christ. It is not to join a small group. We find the presence of Christ most fully in the ecclesial community, especially when we gather for worship. See:

Myth: It is inhospitable to dismiss the catechumens from Mass

We are all dismissed from Mass. The catechumens are simply dismissed at a different time than the rest of us. The catechumens are dismissed because they are part of a different order in the church—the order of catechumens. Those of us in the order of the baptized priesthood and the order of the ministerial priesthood remain after the liturgy of the word to offer the sacrifice of the Mass. See:

Myth: 50% of those initiated through the RCIA no longer practice their faith five years after initiation

This is just untrue. It is not supported by any study or any verifiable statistics. In fact, the opposite is true. See:

Your Turn

What myths have you heard about the RCIA in your parish? Which of the myths listed here have you had to address in your parish? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Five keys to involving the assembly in the work of Christian initiation

  1. FAQ: Everything you need to know about the new translation of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
  2. How do we foster conversion in the seekers, according the Rite (Order) of Christian Initiation of Adults?
  3. Why conversion is so important in the Rite (Order) of Christian Initiation of Adults
  4. Sponsors and godparents in the Christian initiation process
  5. What to say instead of “OCIA”

Photo by Baher Khairy on Unsplash

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  1. I agree with your six points.
    For more than 25 years I was the pastor of a parish where we attempted to do the RCIA process
    properly. It was a very fruitful time for all of us and I am grateful that I was part of it.

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