RCIA requires ministers to walk with people during their time of discernment. 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.
As well as participating in network event catechists are encouraged to consider completing Certificate in Parish Service for RCIA Catechists. This is a joint effort between The Catholic Institute of Aotearoa New Zealand (TCI) and the Catholic Diocese of Auckland.It will enrich each catechist’s own understanding of faith, equip catechists for ministry and strengthen the catechist’s understanding of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. It consists of four pastoral theological papers, three from TCI and a local Auckland based one. Contact Sr Sian for further information.