Here is an easy way to take the first step toward a year-round catechumenate.
Many parishes have recently celebrated their annual Rite of Acceptance. If that is your situation, you now have a brand new group of catechumens, and you will not be ready for more until next fall.
So here’s your challenge. If someone shows up in the next week or the next month or anytime before next fall asking questions about becoming Catholic, invite them to meet with your ambassador of welcome. Set up a meeting within a few days of your initial encounter. Make sure your ambassador of welcome has a significant contact with the inquirer at least once a month until it is time for your next Rite of Acceptance. (Significant is at least 45 minutes.)
The monthly meeting doesn’t have to be “catechesis.” In fact, it’s not supposed to be. It can just be conversation. When another person shows up asking questions a few weeks later, simply invite her to join the conversation. (But be sure the initial meeting takes place within a few days of the first inquiry.)
If you make that the normal practice in your parish, you will have moved to a year-round inquiry process without hardly lifting a finger.
2 thoughts on “Is this the year to go year-round?”
It is so wonderful to have found your site. We have transitioned into a year round process over the past 7 years and have been blessed in so many ways.
One of our first steps to moving into this process was not to combine any of the Rites. We chose not to do any Profession of Faiths at the Easter Vigil. Instead we do them 3 or 4 times throughout the year. They are so moving every time we do them. One of the most rewarding parts of this is knowing that people may be received into the Church at anytime throughout the year. We try to do the Profession of Faith on significant Sundays, such as the Baptism of the Lord, Christ the King and the Sundays of Easter.
People in the parish are beginning to see and understand the difference between a Catechumen and a Candidate for full communion within the Catholic Church.
I love that you continue to promote the year-round process! I’ve been coordinating this process in our Parish for 20 years now. Fr. Ron Lewinski and Sr. Gael Gensler were both in our Parish when I began so I had 2 superb Mentors/teachers. We’ve been operating on a ‘shoestring’ Team membership all along moving between 2 and 5 members at a time throughout all the years. Right now there are 3 of us. And we manage pretty well! I truly believe that it’s more about the commitment of the Team members than the numbers. I think our Team is proof of that. I personally do all the ‘intakes’ and I also do the other phases too. We divide up the sessions according to our own capabilities and availability and we each respect each other’s personal needs so we don’t EVER quibble about who’s doing more sessions than another. We love each other and stretch ourselves for each other for the ultimate good of the Candidates. We attend ANY workshops or seminars that are offered in our area or on-line and have continued to ‘evolve’ our process so it never gets stale. I couldn’t agree more with you that it doesn’t take an enormous Team to have a really good year-round process. You just DO IT and it all seems to work out……the Holy Spirit is in charge, remember?
One of the great benefits, as we see it, is the benefit to our Assembly. It seems to us that a 9-month process tells the Assembly that the Holy Spirit only works in a certain way and in a certain time. In the year-round process, our Assembly sees a continual flow of Folks coming into the process and being received into the Church so our Assembly sees the Holy Spirit at work ALWAYS and in clear view of the Faithful. We’ve received Candidates into the Church at all times of the year (except Lent) and, of course, our Catechumens are normally received at the Vigil although we’ve had instances where the person has been baptized, confirmed and brought into the Church under special circumstances. If such a situation occurs, a great Parish Liturgist and Pastor can make the event VERY special and the Liturgy deeply meaningful for the person as well as the Assembly. And, once again, the Assembly sees the Holy spirit hard at work joyfully expanding His Church…….bringing someone to Him. I know I’m going on and on here………. I just can’t say enough about the year-round process and how easily it can be implemented and brought into the life of any Parish. With no ‘time constraints’ on either the Team or the Candidates, the Team and the candidates can move slowly and smoothly through the process and operate in Kairos not chronos with ease and enjoyment. Just DO IT, all you 9-monthers out there! The Holy Spirit will carry you!