Welcoming New Catholics
Welcoming new members is one of the most wonderful experiences in the life of the Church. It brings new life and vigour not only to the newly baptised but to the whole Church community.
The rite of initiation is suited to a spiritual journey of adults that varies according to
the many forms of Gods grace,
the free cooperation of the individuals
the action of the Church
and the circumstances of time and place
Rite of Christian Initiation #5
We are called to 'go make disciples of all nations' during the great Commission. The rite is not optional: it is the normative way that the Catholic Church welcomes new members.
The RCIA challenges the faith community, to be:
• people of the Word
• people of Eucharist
• people of hospitality
• people of the story of salvation history
• people of conversion
• people of mission.
The role of the faith community, beautifully expressed in the words of the Rite itself, is ‘to surround the Elect with prayer, so that the entire Church will accompany and lead them to encounter Christ’ (RCIA 108).
The first minister of the catechumenal process is the community. A parish’s sense of hospitality is crucially important for RCIA.
Catechists in RCIA are integral to the process as they nurture God’s work of conversion in each candidate by drawing on the "four sources":
- Catechesis – teaching about beliefs and traditions
- Sharing – lived experience of the Christian life
- Liturgical rites and the Sunday readings
- Witnessing – to the Gospel through their lives.
The catechist endeavours to develop an RCIA environment where:
- The individual's journey with God is nurtured
- Each of the ‘sources’ of formation is addressed
So a Catechist is:
- A person of faith and prayer, active in the parish community
- A good communicator able to share faith and listen with empathy
- A member of the community with some theological knowledge and understanding of Church teachings, the liturgies of the catechumenate. This doesn’t require expertise but a good knowledge of the basics and knowing what resources are available and how to access and use them.
It is imperative that Catechists are well formed. They are walking with people whose story is sacred. Further formation enriches the individual's own understanding of faith, equips catechists for ministry and strengthen the catechist’s understanding of the Rite itself.
Annual formation opportunities are offered through the Diocesan RCIA coordinator. In 2021 this will look at the key questions of RCIA.
- 12 August - St Anne's Manurewa | 7.00-8.30
- 14 August - St Francis Xavier Whangarei | 10.30 - 12 noon
- 17 August - St Columba Centre, Vermont St Ponsonby | 7.00-8.30
Te Kupenga also offers an NZQA registered diploma of Christian Leadership course PM 603. Details are on their website.
Sr Sian is also able to offer particular formation to RCIA teams on request.