I have just put the finishing touches on a workshop I am presenting on Sunday at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. The cab to the airport arrives at 4:30 tomorrow morning. Ug.
I am giving two workshops and it is this second one that has taken up much of my time: "The Catechumenate as the Inspiration for All Catechesis: How and Why?" The inherent challenge with this workshop lies in the fact that the implementation of the RCIA, at least in the United States and Canada, has fallen far short, thus far, of the Church's vision for the catechumenate as articulated time and time again in the documents of the Second Vatican Council, as well as in the Church's various directories for catechesis. So, it is not easy to talk about something that is supposed to inspire something else when that original something, in practice, shouldn't be used to inspire, well, anything.
I know I have been sounding rather down about the RCIA recently. But if we don't start naming the truth--that the RCIA, by and large, as practiced in North America has greatly missed the mark--then we will be stuck in this catechetical rut indefinitely.
A little gem from the United States own National Directory for Catechesis:
Dioceses and parishes should present catechesis for Christian initiation that
- Summons the catechumen to profess faith in the person of Jesus Christ from the heart, to follow him faithfully, and to become his disciple
- Recognizes that Christian initiation is an apprenticeship of the entire Christian life and so should include more than instruction.
And that section goes on.
Here is an example I found on the internet a few years ago. This is an RCIA "schedule" for a parish RCIA program.
RCIA meets every Wednesday evening from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the
Parish Hall with some exceptions, check the schedule below.
Catholic Vision Overview
September 3 Welcome and "Tour of the Church"
September 10 Mary and the Rosary & Communion of Saints
September 17 Marriage & Sexuality
Birth control & assisted fertility techniques
September 24 Teaching Authority in the Church
October 1 Sacrament of Baptism
October 8 Sacrament of Confirmation
October 15 Morality Issues: abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia
October 22 Sacrament of Reconciliation: history & current practice
October 29 Scripture: Catholic Principles of Interpretation
November 5 Eucharist (1): what, how and why of Sacrament
November 12 Eucharist (2): What does Sacrament mean to me
November 19 "Four Last Things" (+Purgatory)
December 3 Liturgical Year: vessels and vestments
December 10 Ordained ministry, celibacy and Priesthood of the Baptized
December 17 Proclaiming the Kingdom
Catholic Vision of Worship
January 8 Mass; History of the Liturgy
January 15 Mass; Liturgy of the Word
January 22 Mass; Liturgy of the Eucharist
January 29 Mass; "Full, Active, Conscious Participation"
Catholic Vision of Life
February 5 St. Benedict
February 12 St. Francis of Assisi
February 19 St. Ignatius of Loyola
February 26 St. Teresa of Avila & St. John of the Cross
March 5 St. Francis de Sales/St. Vincent de Paul
March 12 Brother Lawrence
March 19 Br. Charles de Foucauld
March 26 Contemporary Saints
April 2 Jesus; Who is He and what does he want with me
April 9 Receiving the Holy Spirit
April 23 PotLuck/Sharing Your Triduum Experience
April 30 Ministry Leaders Visit
May 7 Ministry Leaders Visit
December 1 Rite of Welcome 9:00 a.m. Mass
March 5 Ash Wednesday/Rite of Sending 7:00 p.m. Mass
March 8 Rite of Election* 5:00 p.m. Mass
March 23 First Scrutiny 9:00 a.m. Mass
March 30 Second Scrutiny 11:30 a.m. Mass
April 2 Presentations of the Creed and the Lord's Prayer 9:00 a.m. Mass
April 6 Third Scrutiny 9:00 a.m. Mass
April 13 Passion/Palm Sunday 9:00 a.m.
April 17 Holy Thursday Liturgy 7:00 p.m.
April 18 Good Friday Liturgy 3:00., 7:00 p.m.
April 19 Easter Vigil Practice at church @ 10 a.m.
April 19 Easter Vigil Mass @ Sundown
Reception after celebration
Just type in "RCIA Program" or "RCIA Schedule" into any search engine and you will find schedules like this one. Have we missed the boat for the most part?
At any rate, I am looking forward to the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress and I will report back about how the RCIA presentations were received (or not!).
Gotta sing. Gotta Pray.