Grow in Faith with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) Ministry
by: Yvonne Cassa, RCIA Catechist
This week in our discussion on the Covenant at St. John XXIII we will focus on Grow. As our Covenant states, we as disciples of Jesus Christ and as a member of our parish, we dedicate ourselves to grow by expanding our knowledge of the Catholic faith and by participating in a day of reflection, retreat, Bible study or education study. You have many opportunities in helping with the RCIA Ministry whether you have a lot of time or just a little time. Read on for more information:
Many of us are honored to be godparents of our niece or nephew or of a friend’s new baby. Standing at the baptismal font, we boldly agreed to “assist these parents in handing on the faith.” Then what? For some, we stayed intimately involved with our godchild—witnessing both their physical maturity and prodding their spiritual growth. Others may have a more remote relationship. Yet, each of us felt a deep gratitude for the invitation. If only briefly, we thought about being Catholic and our worthiness to accept the role. And in that moment, God took the opportunity to call us to something more…to grow in our own faith and put that faith on display for a child.
What about when an adult or older child seeks to become a baptized Catholic or embrace our Catholic faith from another faith tradition? Do we have any part in their journey? Most often, we are not related to them, or even acquainted, except to see them at Mass among the parish team who will instruct them and prepare them for their initiation into the Church. The catechumens (unbaptized) and candidates (previously baptized) will grow in their knowledge of the Church’s teachings. They will grow in prayer. They will grow in their love of Jesus Christ. How would I, a full member of the Church, perhaps a “cradle Catholic” of many years, grow in faith by involving myself in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)?DOWNLOAD THE BULLETIN
Allow me a few stories of unexpected and rich experiences of growing in faith, either with a simple brush with RCIA or a deeper commitment with a catechumen or candidate.
Roberta was hesitant to accept an invitation to speak with capability on the Church’s teachings, but confident that she could provide a snack for the group and tell them a bit about her own involvement with the Prayer Shawl ministry. We encouraged her to hang out for a few minutes as we began our discussion on the saints. One of our candidates was clearly skeptical of our “intercession” of the saints, asking “Why don’t you just go straight to God when you pray?”
Surprisingly, Roberta responds. She speaks lovingly about her devotion to St. Therese and other saints who bolstered her up during tough times. For Roberta, it wasn’t about “skipping” over the saints, but pausing to observe these holy men and women. She told us about their ordinary lives and how she could connect her story with their story. Remember, this was Roberta who could not imagine herself as a catechist.
Someone on the RCIA team knew that Mike was a decent photographer and asked him to take pictures during the Rites at Mass and at our Retreat. With the team already busy at these experiences, Mike would be of great help with only an occasional time commitment. His wife, Diane, was not Catholic, but often went to Mass with him. She watched the catechumens and candidates and what took place. Who knows what touched Diane, but the following fall, Diane became part of RCIA with a desire to become Catholic.
Parishioners who became sponsors of a catechumen or candidate, would often remark on their own personal growth in the faith. It is true that when we need to impart something to another person, it drives us to examine it more closely.
So whether you help with one task, occasionally or ongoing—there is a role for you in the lives of our catechumens and candidates. It does not matter how briefly you assist or how intimately you become involved with them, they will take up residence in your heart.
What can each of us do? Pause for a moment at the opportunity God is offering us—to expand our hearts and minds through the RCIA ministry—to GROW in faith.
For More Information: Please contact Ginny Whelan at (239) 362-1283 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org