Monday greetings from the Buena Vista Palace Hotel here in Orlando, Florida.
I am here at the International Catholic Stewardship Council, exhibiting on behalf of J.S. Paluch and World Library Publications.
FDLC's (Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions) annual meeting in Lombard, Illinois, was just a delight, but lots and lots of hard work. I took many photos to share with you, but my replacement iPhone, for some reason, is not letting me send the photos to my email account from where I download them to be able to use them here. Ah . . . technology! (A few minutes later . . . just found a temporary fix; I can post to Facebook, then save to my desktop, then post here, hence the photo of our booth above!)
At any rate, the FDLC meeting, which included over forty former North American Forum on the Catechumenate team members, was really a consultation on a new set of National Statutes for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults here in the United States. The consultation process was long and involved and excellent preparatory talks were given by Ron Lewinski and Paul Turner. Their talks, from pastoral and theological perspectives, both focused on the recent CARA study of the RCIA in the United States. Looking forward to sharing links with you (when they are made available) so that you can see the results, most of which were not surprising. It is a good thing to have real survey results with real numbers.
The major areas (among others) discussed with respect to the National Statutes were:
Celebration of the "Combined Rites" with catechumens and baptized candidates
Distinctions between these two groups generally
The place of confirmation within the order of the sacraments of initiation and the practice of not confirming children of catechetical age when they are baptized
It was a stimulating meeting. A high point was a video we watched honoring the work of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate which, as you know, closed its doors last year. I needed that video; it was a chance to grieve with my colleagues with whom I have worked passionately for nearly thirty years implementing the RCIA. Cried the entire time. Great, great loss personally and for the Church in North America and beyond.
I was home in Chicago for just a day, then flew here to Orlando yesterday for this stewardship conference. My old parish of Saint Mary Magdalen, here in Altamonte Springs in the Orlando diocese, has a booth right across the aisle from our booth. I don't recognize any of the faces, but I am proud of their work as they receive the 2014 Archbishop Murphy award for stewardship.
From here, I travel to Atlanta to give an RCIA presentation on Thursday morning, then back home and to the office on Friday. On Monday night I leave for Houston to attend the planning meeting for the 2015 NPM convention to be held there.
My apologies for not blogging more regularly; I hope you can understand how travel can impede my abilities to post regularly.
And I miss my colleagues at WLP and JSP so much when I am away. Totally serious.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.