"New Translation Tuesday" greetings from the Diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey. I am here to give four talks to the clergy and lay leaders of the diocese: "The RCIA: What's It Got to Do with Me?" I am finding that now that the Missal implementation frenzy has settled somewhat, that diocesan leaders are looking more closely at the effectiveness of the implementation of the catechumenate. This is where my own real pastoral passion has been focused for most of my adult Catholic life; so it is with a sense of relief that I feel like I am returning to work that helps people engage in the paschal mystery through preparation for the sacraments of initiation. I strongly believe that this is where true renewal of our parishes and of the Church can be found. It's sort of a "back to the basics" approach at this juncture.
I would like to say that I found the Collect from this past Sunday's celebration of the Body and Blood of Christ to be quite inspiring:
O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament
have left us a memorial of your Passion,
grant us, we pray,
so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood
that we may always experience in ourselves
the fruits of your redemption.
Who live and reign with God the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Sure, there is some awkwardness in the construction, but the line that struck me was "that we may experience in ourselves the fruits of your redemption." I think that Catholics in general need help in understanding what this means. When we hear "fruits," for instance, kiwis and oranges might immediately come to mind! When you really think about it, ask yourself what it means to you that you are being invited, time and again, to experience within yourself the fruits of redemption in Christ? To me, I was moved to think about the ways that God is continually at work on my own life; how, for instance, in my own lived Catholic experience, God calls me away from my own sinfulness and longs to work that redemption over and over again. Is this not the miracle we celebrate each week at Mass? Like I said, I think that most Catholics need help with this concept. And I guess that is why I find initiation ministry so remarkable. RCIA ministers get to see Christ be born, live, die, and rise again in the hearts, minds, and very lives of catechumens whom God entrusts to their care. What an extraordinary ministry!
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.