How’s mystagogy going for you right now? More importantly, how is it going for the neophytes?
Some teams think the period of mystagogy ends with Pentecost, but that’s not what the U.S. bishops think.
Flip your copy of the RCIA open to the very back and look for the the National Statutes on the Catechumenate. Run your finger down to paragraph 24:
After the immediate mystagogy or postbaptismal catechesis during the Easter season, the program for the neophytes should extend until the anniversary of Christian initiation, with at least monthly assemblies of the neophytes for their deeper Christian formation and incorporation into the full life of the Christian community.
How do you get them to come back for mystagogy?
Now you might be thinking you couldn’t get them to come back for regular mystagogy, much less a mystagogy that extends all year long. Well, you might be right, but that’s still no reason not to try. Before you do give it a shot, however, take a moment to put yourself in the new Catholics’ shoes.
They might be feeling a little adrift right now. It’s been a while since the Easter Vigil. The security of the small group of regulars at the weekly catechetical sessions is no longer there. And they might not really know anyone else in the parish. If you were in that situation, what would attract you to a “monthly assembly”?
Invite neophytes to parish events
I did a little snooping around and read some of your parish bulletins online. One parish is having a Summer Cabbage Ball Fun League that starts next month. I don’t know what cabbage ball is, but for a $25 fee, you get a t-shirt, a pizza party, and all the cabbage ball you can handle. What if the godparents called up the neophytes and personally invited them to play cabbage ball? Or at least come to the pizza party? And perhaps the league organizers would waive the $25 fee for the neophytes.
Another parish is rounding up a group of parishioners to go see the town’s minor league baseball team. Tickets are $7.00. Perhaps the parish might spring for the seven bucks. That, and a personal invitation from you or the godparents would probably get most of the neophytes to the “assembly.”
And a few of you are sponsoring monthly book clubs. What a perfect event to invite the neophytes to, especially the introverts. If they are feeling shy, they can just hide behind the book until they warm up to the group.
A lot of you are having farewell parties for pastors that are moving on. And others are having welcome parties for new pastors. Have the godparents get on the phone and invite the neophytes for some tears and cheers.
Let them know you care
Even if the neophytes don’t come to these “monthly assemblies” in your parish, they will feel more connected to the community just knowing you haven’t forgotten about them. Give it a try, and let us know what happens.
And what about those of you that are already implementing successful, year-long mystagogies? What tips can you share with the rest of us?
For more ideas on helping the neophytes during their first year of Christian life, check out Living Baptism Daily: A Guide for the Baptized by Lawrence E. Mick.
2 thoughts on “Have you hugged your neophyte today?”
I have to brag- our neophytes came to our parish potluck ALONE and had a great time playing ping pong with our priests! One literally graduated the next day from Oregon Institute of Technology and moved to Texas to begin an internship as a nuclear medicine nurse; the other finished the semester and moved back home to Bend, OR. I was blessed to connect them both with their local parishes! Our parish has 4 who are in the Inquiry stage for the summer. One is moving to another part of Oregon, but I have her connected with the new parish, who unfortunately, is only offering Sept-Easter RCIA, but I am still handling her annulment. 2 of the other 3 are starting the annulment process. The 4th is on track to probably enter the Pre- Catechumenate in September or October. God is Good! Thanks for your encouragement and this excellent website full of information!
Wow Michele, it sounds like you are doing some really wonderful things! Thanks for sharing and for your passion for this ministry.