One of the disadvantages of running this Web site becomes apparent when I have a question. If I submit it to the “Ask a question” link, it will just come back to me to answer. So I’m submitting it to you.
When do you introduce the catechumens to the stewardship efforts of the parish? More specifically, when do you speak to them about supporting the mission of the parish financially? I’ve never liked waiting until after initiation: “Here’s your baptism and your envelopes.” In parishes that are doing a complete catechumenate, the catechumens will no doubt hear at least a couple of “stewardship homilies.” Is that time to talk with them about contributing time, talent, and treasure to the mission? What are your thoughts?
4 thoughts on “Should catechumens get envelopes?”
I think you hit on it when you mentioned the wisdom in “year-round catechumenate.” Since I am living in a predominantly Baptist part of the country, the question of tithing usually comes up at least once during the process.
I always get a chuckle out of the group when we have had a walk-thru for the Vigil (I know, I know, Elect should not be present during the rehearsal, but bear with me.)
When we get to the conclusion of the Liturgy of Initiation, I instruct the soon to be baptized that they will take their places in the front row of pews. Then I say, “And now, fresh from your baptism, you are one with us! It is time to participate for the first time in the liturgy as Catholics. The ushers will come down the aisle and hand you the collection basket!”
Thanks for the story Joe. I remember when I was first learning about RCIA. When they got to the part about the catechumens leaving Mass before the collection, I knew we were going to have a lot of “teachable moments” among the assembly.
On a related note,
Our diocese recently conducted a number of workshops on the “Sunday Celebration in the Absence of a Priest.” In the Rite, the collection is taken up at the end of the service – after Communion (if Communion is distributed).
The workshop opened with a demonstration of the Rite, followed by a mystagogical session (very good adult catechesis). Our pastor was in attendance and commented (tongue deeply implanted in cheek) “You scared me when I did not see a collection after the Liturgy of the Word!”
I think it’s critical to get the right people to talk to the catechumens about stewardship, and then it’s an eye-opening experience. The last parish where I did this, the pastor was GREAT at it, and there was a woman from the parish who was absolutely wonderful with the topic too; they spoke as a team to our catechumens and candidates on a Sunday when the readings warranted it. Practical matters are of great interest to the folks being initiated, and if the issue is framed well pastorally and theologically, and questions are answered with sensitivity, it’s something that will make a difference to their outlook and practice for years to come.
When to give out envelopes is a separate question, and I think there are various ways to go. I’ve tended to wait until initiation, because the machinery of enrollment in the parish is based (in the parishes I’ve worked at, anyway) on Catholic baptism, and it’s awkward to collect envelopes when you dismiss before the General Intercessions. I think there could be ways to solve these practical problems, however, if the desire is there to give. But I wouldn’t push it until the topic has been broached catechetically, and a foundation laid.
After all, giving is not a topic always greeted with rapture. I’ve found that what people resist most about envelopes is their mechanical quality (when monetary giving is separate from gifts of time and talent, it feels impersonal), and the suspicion that they’ll be judged by the dollar amount they contribute. Some people prefer to give anonymously, and I would respect that. They need to know they will not be judged, whatever happens. But all of this is fodder for a good discussion.