When it comes the need to ‘run the RCIA program’ one of the questions that often gets asked is what is the best resource to use. Usually the person asking that question wishes to know which book, or series of pamphlets, or videos can best be used to pass on the knowledge of the Christian faith to those who are seeking to become Catholic.
Diana Macalintal of TeamRCIA.com suggests a different response to the question:
Because your parishioners have been washed, anointed, and clothed as priests, prophets, and kings, enlightened with the knowledge of Christ, endowed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and strengthened by the Eucharist to grow into the full stature of Christ for doing Christ’s mission, they are the best teachers for your catechumens and candidates. Therefore, your parish is the best “classroom” for forming adults for living a life of discipleship in Christ.
Diana Macalintal, Your Parish IS the Curriculum: RCIA in the Midst of the Community (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2018), p. 24. ISBN: 978-0-8146-4465-2.
If we approach the RCIA as yet one more program to implement and we delegate the implementation of that program to a small group of leaders, then we will have failed even before we begin. … the adult catechumenate changes everything. It is a paradigm shift that flows from the radical insight recovered from Vatican II that baptism matters. If that’s true, then your baptism matters. It matters most of all to the people who are seeking what baptism gives you: an intimate relationship with the living Christ active in the world. Where we find that living Christ and that relationship is in the community of Christians.
Unfortunately, that community is messy. It is imperfect, made up of imperfect people. It would be much easier, cleaner, and quicker to just leave RCIA to a small group of highly qualified Christians who meet once a week to transmit the teaching of the church to a receptive, albeit passive, group of seekers. Or maybe we could ensure that the catechumens meet only the best of Catholics among us or attend only the best of our liturgies.
Yet the Body of Christ doesn’t work that way. Only through intimate relationship with the members of the Christ’s Body will one touch and hear and see Christ at work in the world. So if you want your seekers to learn how to be the Body of Christ, they must be trained by those who are the Body of Christ: the entire Christian community.
Diana Macalintal, Your Parish IS the Curriculum: RCIA in the Midst of the Community (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2018), p. 10. ISBN: 978-0-8146-4465-2.
Something interesting in a post on the PrayTellBlog today as part of its ongoing series of quotes from Pope Paul VI in preparation for his upcoming canonization.
Paul VI, asked by his philosopher friend Jean Guitton why he would not concede the 1962 missal to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and his followers who rejected the liturgical reform:
Never. This Mass … becomes the symbol of the condemnation of the council. I will not accept, under any circumstances, the condemnation of the council through a symbol. Should this exception to the liturgy of Vatican II have its way, the entire council would be shaken. And, as a consequence, the apostolic authority of the council would be shaken.
How things change…
Another interesting contribution on the PrayTellBlog in its series on the interventions of Pope Paul VI on the subject of liturgical reform. The contribution below follows the previous one (go here) and comes from the same address…and highlights the other extreme who can also cause problems.
Paul VI on liturgical reform Part 7