Do you have any recommendations for “some sort of celebration” at the end of the Easter season that the RCIA mentions in paragraph 249? Our parish has traditionally done a “commissioning,” a blessing prayer over the neophytes by the community at the end of mass on Pentecost. Does it need to be on Pentecost or is the following Sunday fine?
I don’t think there is a specific guideline for the celebration mentioned in paragraph 249. My sense is that the Rite means simply a party—a parish pot luck or reception after Mass, perhaps. I would think it could include a blessing prayer over the neophytes, but I would be reluctant to call it a “commissioning.” I would worry that might diminish their initiation as their “great commission.” If you are going to pray a blessing over the neophytes at Mass, it seems like Pentecost would be the ideal Sunday. If you are going to offer the blessing at the party, any Sunday near Pentecost, before or after, would be appropriate. The following paragraph in the RCIA notes that the neophytes from the previous year be brought together to give thanks to God on their anniversary. It might be a joyful moment for those who are ending their neophyte year be at the party also to be witnesses to those who are about to begin their neophyte year.
How about the rest of you? Any suggestions for or examples of implementing RCIA 249?
10 thoughts on “How do you party with the neophytes?”
Our parish has only had a RCIA Team for the past 1 1/2 years; starting mid-year in 2006-07. This last class was absolutely exceptional in their participation and all aspects of becoming members of our parish community. We held a class potluck in place of our last class in April, inviting the neophytes, their families and their sponsors, as well as our parish priest and permanent deacons. We had very positive feedback about the social time spent with one another and will be hosting a similar event at the beginning of the program this September. Again, the group was exceptional and I am not sure if the group dynamics was the reason for the closeness, or if we as a team, were able to bring this group together – it was the most wonderful experience!
Hi Phyliss. What was the catalyst that got your team started 1 1/2 years ago?
We have been doing full RCIA at our parish for about 9 years now. For the past 8 years we have had a light stand-up reception immediately after the Easter Vigil (no matter how late it is). This reception is hosted by the previous year’s neophytes and their sponsors led by a team member. After the vigil everyone is tired and thirsty but the NEW neophytes are very excited and everyone wants to congratulate them. The reception offers everyone that opportunity. At the reception we serve only one kind of cold drink and cut up fruit. It usually lasts under an hour and everyone goes home tired and happy.
Hi Paula. That sounds fantastic! I hope you have a great party this year. Keep up the great work you are doing.
We have been holding an RCIA PotLuck Kickoff. This allows the inquirers, their support people, family, the RCIA team, our Pastor and other members of the parish ( past RCIA participants) to come together for a fun evening of food, prayer and some activities.
It allows us to get to know each other in a relaxed and fun setting. One activity we have enjoyed – I have made play-doh in many colours and we divide into groups that include a mix of those present. We give them a large amount of play-doh. They need to create “church”. The kids usually jump in and after a moment or two the adults begin to play and the concepts are great, better than the level of artisty! We share our ideas and creations.
After Easter we host a bar-b-q. It is a great time to reconnect and the “RCIA alumni” ( as one neophyte called it) enjoy the time with other members of the parish.
Thanks for sharing your story Janine. It sounds like a wonderful party!
We have a Closing Mass and Picnic at someone’s home at the end of the Mystagogy series. It includes all who have been involved in RCIA in any way during the year, and if we have any new inquirers at that time, they are invited also. Our pastor says Mass for us in the informal setting of a parishioner’s back yard. The picnic is potluck. A good time is had by all.
After the vigil mass, our parish hosts a reception for the neophytes and families and all parishioners attending the vigil mass. This gives time for the community to congratulate and share with the group. This reception is held regardless of the time of night.
The first class meeting after the vigil, the team provides a potluck meal for the neophytes, sponsors, team, pastoral staff. The group meets, enjoys a meal with everyone. A team member then leads a reflection time covering Holy Week through Easter. Each person has a chance to share feelings, emotions, of the events as well as hearing those of everyone involved.
The end of the mystagogy period is marked by a social time with neophytes, sponsors, team and pastoral staff. We present each neophyte a scrapbook of pictures of all of the rites and events of their journey. Thank you gifts are also given to the sponsors for their dedication.
I’m curious what sort of thank-you gifts directors give for sponsors and/or team-members.