We recently asked folks what their experience is with baptized candidates in their formation processes. About 400 people responded, and here are the results:
What is the current timeframe of your catechumenate process?
Almost 45% of those who responded said they have a year-round process. I was happily surprised by that number. It could be that folks who are associated with TeamRCIA would tend more toward a year-round process than RCIA teams in general. And the pandemic has probably spurred some communities to move to a year-round process. All in all, it is pretty great to see.
What is the discipleship training process you use mostly?
The response here was mixed. Or perhaps I should say combined. People mostly responded that they use a mix of processes. Even so, it was encouraging to see that about 16% of parishes use a parish immersion and apprenticeship process. It’s not too long ago that we probably could have expected that option to be a lot closer to zero.
How often do you employ mystagogical catechesis?
This response was outstanding with almost 36% of parishes in the survey saying they use mystagogical catechesis almost every time they interact with seekers. To see such a high number of you employing this method of formation is very encouraging!
On average, how many seekers (baptized or unbaptized) are preparing for full initiation or reception into full communion at any given time?
This response was not as surprising, but it is instructive. If you combine the top two percentages, about 76% of parishes in the survey have fewer than 10 seekers at any given time. This means most of us should be able to easily move away from one-size-fits-all programs to an individualized faith formation journey for each seeker that responds directly to his or her needs.
On average, what kind of seekers are in your process?
This response was also not surprising. Half of our seekers are baptized and uncatechized. And if you add in the “Other” responses, you get combinations that would reflect even more parishes with baptized and uncatechized candidates. The challenge here is that the RCIA is a rite of initiation (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults), and well over half of our seekers are already baptized. We can adapt some of the formation processes we use with catechumens and apply them to baptized candidates. But we always have to be super careful to not confuse the two groups and to always recognize the dignity of baptism.
Are you surprised?
Did anything in the result surprise you? How does your parish compare to the overall results? Share some of your thoughts and reactions in the comment section below.