My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As someone with a keen interest both in liturgy generally, and the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) in particular, the contents of this book were both interesting and encouraging.
At the heart of the thesis in O’Malley’s book is that liturgical formation, but which is meant formation that is rooted in experiencing and reflecting on the celebration of the liturgy, is the primary content, indeed the premier content, for preparing those who are journeying through the RCIA. Everything that enquirers, catechumens, elect and neophytes – depending on where they are in the journey – need in order to prepare for and then live Christian initiation can be found there in the Church’s liturgy. No textbooks are required, no curriculum is necessary, other than that offered by living the liturgical life of the Church in full.
O’Malley writes clearly and engagingly, bringing both his wealth of knowledge and personal story to bear in this book. And the book is a great resource for those responsible for accompanying seekers along the journey of the RCIA, a task that can only be described as a privilege. O’Malley’s contribution is a boon to the task and those undertaking it.
From the backcover:
RCIA teams often struggle with getting catechumens and candidates to participate regularly in the church’s liturgy. Those who do often feel bored or confused, or they see it as a nice tradition or an inconvenient obligation rather than the heart of our Catholic faith. So we fill the hpa with more catechesis that explains the liturgy to seekers, and we pray they will have a better personal experience on Sunday. Yet neither causes them to love the liturgy as we do.
In Divine Blessing: Liturgical Formation in the RCIA, Timothy P. O’Malley shows us how we can break out of a classroom model about liturgy and instead invite seekers to be formed by the risen Christ through the liturgy. This book will give you a process for preparing your catechumens and candidates to learn the liturgy’s symbolic language of self-giving love that will sustain them with divine blessing and train them to be Christ’s disciples in the world.
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