Tuesday, February 23, 2016

RCIA As Inspiration . . . Really?

Greetings on this Lenten Tuesday.

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.


Chris said...

"Have we missed the boat for the most part?"


Anonymous said...

I'm curious about putting "Mary and the Rosary," and "Birth Control" ahead of "Jesus" or "Baptism." What does this communicate about the priorities of the Church?