Doing the Catechumenate
“I inherited the responsibility for catechumenate ministry recently at my parish,” Darlene wrote to us. “At that time, I had no idea what to do.”
Well here’s the thing. No one has any idea what to do. Not really.
We know what you’re thinking. You know how to do the catechumenate.
Or you know someone who does.
Or you went to a workshop where the presenters knew.
We once heard someone say, “I’ve been doing this ministry for twenty years!” Surely someone who has been doing something for that long knows how to do it.
We’re not so sure.
We think no one really knows how to “do the catechumenate” because we’ve never done it before.
Not this way.
When you go to a workshop or read a book or talk to someone who “has been doing this for twenty years,” it’s like asking a deep-sea diver, “What’s down there?” The sea is a mystery, and so is the faith journey every seeker dives into.
When we are talking about the catechumenate, we don’t think we’ve gotten to the deep water yet. We think we have just barely stuck our toes in. There is so much more to discover that we haven’t even imagined.
Pope Francis tells us not to be afraid of the deep. As missionary disciples, we have to take that first step. Step out of our comfort zone. Step into the deep. Step into the mystery.
When we step out in faith, “we can move forward, boldly take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast” (Joy of the Gospel, 24).
Okay, take a big breath and think about this for a second. Is the way you are “doing the catechumenate” forming a community of missionary disciples who take the first step?
If we’re honest, a lot of us may think of the catechumenate as a really cool way to make Catholics. We aren’t really thinking of making missionary disciples. What does that even mean?
How would we even start?
Well, that’s something we should talk about. And we want you to be part of the conversation.
We’re inviting you (urging you, really) to join a group of adventurers and explorers and deep-sea divers like yourself to help figure out how the catechumenate can make a real difference in our parishes.
Together, we’re going to figure out exactly how the Rite (Order) of Christian Initiation of Adults is going to help us dive into the mystery and become the community of missionary disciples Pope Francis imagines.
A foundational event to form Christians for life
Gain the confidence you need to transform your entire parish into a community of disciples through the work of the catechumenate
Acquire the skills to build an evangelizing parish that involves the entire community in calling forth missionary disciples
Learn how to overcome challenges and make catechumenate ministry a source of abounding joy in your life
Make conversion happen
Understand the way of faith and conversion and how the rites and catechesis work together to make disciples
Renew your parish
Discover how to use your parish as a personalized syllabus for the variety of people we meet in the initiation process
“TeamRCIA has been such a huge help over the years. Know that your wonderful training efforts and excellent catechumenate sessions have been extraordinarily helpful to our parish catechumenate team.”— Kathy Dancey
FIRST EVENING (2.5 HOURS)
NEXT DAY (7.5 HOURS)
Form Lifelong Disciples
Take the stress out of catechumenate team training
We know you do! You want to do so much for your catechumenate ministers. But as a diocesan (or parish) leader, with many responsibilities and limited time and energy, you can only do so much.
That’s where TeamRCIA can help. We’ve put together several training modules that can help you establish a firm foundation for your catechumenate ministers and will build upon the good work you have already done for them.
Choose from among several live online training modules to provide your parish catechumenate teams with dependable, proven training that is accessible, affordable, and tailored to your specific needs and schedule.
You provide the passionate, committed ministers, eager to make disciples; we’ll provide the rest.
“I am super grateful for these opportunities that TeamRCIA offers. I just don’t have the time to spend with my catechumenate directors as I wish I did. Their role is so extremely critical in the life of our parishes.
“However, I feel — truly — that TeamRCIA is part of my team. Your resources, your ease of teaching, your ability to ’translate’ the rite(s) in ways that are easy to understand for neophytes, is truly a support to small. mission dioceses like ours. Bravo!”
—Monique Jacobs, Diocese of Reno
Online training options
Mix and match the modules that work best for your community
MODULE ONE (Prerequisite for all other Modules)
Catechumenate Principles (How We’ll Never Be the Same Again)
The Rite (Order) of Christian Initiation of Adults has changed the way we do initiation ministry and live as disciples. This is a good thing because much of “the way we’ve always done it” did not always serve us well in forming missionary disciples.
In this foundational module, we will study the six fundamental principles that shape the entire vision of the catechumenate process. When you understand and work from these principles, you will increase your confidence to make lifelong disciples.
- Know the six principles that are the foundation of a flexible, effective initiation process
- Discover what a “mystagogical itinerary” means for parish life and how this traditional, apostolic way of missionary discipleship shapes our understanding of how we make disciples today
- Grow in confidence that the Spirit has gifted you and your community with everything you need to make lifelong disciples
More Than Just Catechesis: Becoming a Field Hospital for Faith
If, as Pope Francis says, the church is a field hospital, imagine the multitudes of hurting people he sees as he looks over the world. Imagine the pope then turns to us—the catechists, the teachers, the pastoral leaders—and says, “Go. Heal the wounds.” What do we do first?
In this module, participants will learn how to be field hospital ministers who heal wounds through the saving message of the “first proclamation,” the kerygma. We will engage the broad mandate of the new Directory for Catechesis that calls us to respond to the unique needs of each person we seek to catechize.
- Learn how to focus on the core beliefs of our faith when forming seekers
- Unpack nine essential elements of what Pope Francis calls the “first proclamation”
- Discover how to communicate the “first proclamation” with the three kinds of seekers we encounter
Seek the Living God: Five Questions for Conversion
Do you struggle with keeping adults engaged and leading them to lifelong discipleship? If so, this workshop is for you. Once you discover how to use five simple questions, you will be able to help your seekers create and follow through on their own unique faith formation plan.
Participants will leave this workshop with more confidence and an effective tool for guiding people to deeper conversion, starting with the Period of Evangelization and Precatechumenate.
- Learn how to use five simple questions to facilitate a deep learning process for seekers
- Discover how to transfer the responsibility for the faith journey to the seekers themselves
- Know how to create an individualized faith-formation plan for each seeker
Your Parish Is the Curriculum: Formation by the Community
We all know that the community needs to be involved in the formation of the catechumens. But how do we actually do that? The key is to stop trying to get the parish involved in the catechumenate sessions and start getting the catechumens and candidates involved in the parish.
In this module, participants will learn why the community is necessary in order to provide a comprehensive training in Christian life and discover a low-stress, simple way to make your parish the curriculum for the catechumenate.
- Find out how to use the daily life of the parish as the core curriculum for faith formation in the four areas of discipleship
- Learn how to turn the catechumenate upside-down by moving the seekers out into the parish community wherever the faithful gather, in person or online
- Discover how the liturgical rhythm of the parish is the core methodology for catechesis
The Awe-Inspiring Rites: Rituals of Conversion
The liturgy trains the seekers and the faithful how to respond to the action of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
In this module, we will explore the purpose of the main rituals of the Rite (Order) of Christian Initiation of Adults. Participants will learn how to prepare seekers and the entire assembly to encounter Christ in the rites.
Participants will also discover how to adapt the rites when in-person gatherings are limited and recognize those moments when adaptations are insufficient.
- Learn how the rites function to bring seekers into an ever-deeper encounter with Christ to transform them into disciples
- Explore the key principles for effective liturgy that changes lives and how to use these principles to make informed adaptations when needed
- Understand how the ritual encounter with Christ forms and catechizes the assembly to be missionary disciples
Mystagogy: A Lifelong Practice for Living Liturgically
Why is the mystagogical period often a let-down instead of a high point? Where did all the neophytes go? How do we possibly maintain a full year of mystagogy when even 50 days seem so difficult?
Come discover new ways to think of postbaptismal catechesis and explore methods that will engage the neophytes and the whole parish in Easter renewal all year round.
- Learn the purpose of mystagogy and how to lead more effective postbaptismal catechesis
- Explore a mystagogical process that you can use starting in the inquiry period
- Find ways to involve the entire parish in Easter renewal