Wednesday greetings on a warm but drizzly day here in Chicago.
Yesterday's post about the correlation between the way a parish goes about doing the RCIA and the retention rate among new Catholics kind of got me feeling low. For nearly thirty years, I have been talking about the vision for RCIA that the Church espouses. It can be clearly traced from the Second Vatican Council through the publication of the Rite itself, as well as in the General Directory for Catechesis from the Congregation for the Clergy at the Vatican through to the expression in our own country in our National Directory for Catechesis. Frankly, sometimes I feel like I have been banging my head against the wall with all of this.
I did have a bright spot yesterday. A friend and colleague, Fr. James Burkart, a priest of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, celebrated his birthday recently. We are Facebook friends and there was, of course, an explosion of best wishes and birthday greetings for Fr. Jim on Facebook. Then came his note of gratitude: "Thank you for all the birthday wishes. It was a beautiful day . . . Just like the day I was born [insert smiley face]. November 17 is the anniversary of my baptism, the day I was re-born. That is the day I received the promise of eternity. When is your baptismal anniversary?"
Some responses, like mine (May 25) pinpointed the day exactly. Others said that they didn't know but were definitely going to find out. What struck me was the correlation (perhaps) between the way too many parishes "do" the RCIA (all programmatic, all teaching and little else) and the development, or lack thereof more precisely, of an adult baptismal spirituality. If RCIA ministers would work on developing an appreciation for what baptism means in their own lives, then perhaps the way they do the RCIA would shift. Am I on target here, or off base?
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.