Friday, August 22, 2014

Wonderful Day in Youngstown and Becoming Brutally Honest About the Ways the RCIA Is Straying Off Course

Friday greetings from Chicago. I landed about an hour ago; took an early morning flight from Pittsburgh. I was in the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio yesterday, presenting a formation day on the RCIA, which began at 12:30 in the afternoon and ended last night at 8:30. I have done work in this diocese (one of my favorites!) for a number of years and always enjoy spending time there. Here's a photo of the attendees (who gave their verbal permission for inclusion here!)

The formation day was held at Saint Michael Parish in Canfield, Ohio. Here are a few shots of the interior of the church and their baptism font, which is located just to the left of the sanctuary.

I so enjoyed the engagement of those in attendance on the topics we discussed. I am finding myself becoming less and less wary of being much more brutally honest about the ways that the practice of the RCIA has strayed from the originating vision of the Second Vatican Council. Far too many parish RCIA "programs" in parishes (the vast majority, I fear) are nothing more than a six to eight month course in teaching Catholic dogmas and precepts. And I heard it again yesterday, "Where do you teach the RCIA?" "We hold our classes on Tuesday nights." I am beginning to wonder if we are ever going to break away from seeing the RCIA as solely a teaching endeavor. My hope, of course, is to help RCIA ministers see that there is a four-fold dimension to catechumenal formation in the faith; the four so-called "pillars" of Christian formation (found in paragraph 75 of the RCIA): Catechesis, Community, Prayer, and Apostolic Service. I hope I was able to nudge the wonderful people of the Diocese of Youngstown to seriously re-examine their practice and move toward a more wholistic approach, with apprenticeship as the operating principle.

Looking forward to the weekend here in Chicago; nothing on the schedule!

I hope that wherever you are, you enjoy your weekend as well.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

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