I was once part of an RCIA team along with another catechist who had a great devotion to St. Michael. Whenever she would lead a session, somehow the conversation always got around to St. Michael. On the team I’m currently with, one member is a dedicated supporter of our parish food pantry for the poor. His examples of conversion are always connected in some way to the parish food pantry.
RCIA teams: make good news sound good to everyone
While personal devotions and ministries should absolutely be part of the conversation with RCIA participants, we have to be careful that our personal passions don’t dominant message. If our goal is to wow the catechumens and candidates with the good news of Jesus Christ, we have to communicate that good news in way that is universal.
If you look at blockbuster movies, for example, you can get a sense of this. Why was Toy Story 3 such a big hit? I personally thought The Triplets of Belleville—another animated movie with a similar message—was a much better film. But Triplets only grossed about $7 million while TS3 raked in $636 million. Clearly, Woody, Buzz, and the gang have much more universal appeal.
The top, all-time Christian hits
When we are catechizing folks who are new to the faith, look for experiences that have wowed Christians throughout the ages. What might those be? We can start with the Creed. We don’t usually think of the Creed as a “wow” experience, but break out some of the mysteries we profess to believe in every Sunday. We believe in:
- An all-powerful being who made absolutely everything out of absolutely nothing
- A human being who, while still human, is also the pure essence of that all-powerful being—God of God, Light of Light, completely the same nature as the source
- A death that ends all death; a resurrection that definitively recreates all creation as a relationship of harmony, justice, and peace among everyone and everything
- A sacred and holy Spirit that breathes in and through that creation and (wow!) makes us just as holy
- A church, a place, a community of friends that accepts us just as we are; friends (brothers and sister really) who are willing to die for us; who are even willing to die for strangers to fulfill the mission of the Light of Light
These are the universal experiences every Christian shares in. Devotions to St. Michael, dedication to food pantries, and the thousands of ways all of us have found to explore these universal truths more deeply are important. But our first task as catechists to the newcomers is to wow them with the blockbuster hits of our faith.
1 thought on “Wow! The universal truth RCIA teams can learn from box-office hits”
This is so true! Thank you!!
Along the same line, I also would urge every catechist to be aware of their language! What is familiar to you, is probably not be at all familiar to newbies. Catholics have a language all their own and often forget that others have no reference to it at all. Just look at the categories on the right of this page! Imagine hearing, “Later on this year, after your rites, we’ll be catechizing the Elect about Purification and Enlightenment up through the Triduum, then the process of Mystagogia for the Neophytes.”
And it can get worse! We always need to be aware of our audience, not our own presentation, and do not assume! Put yourselves in “their” shoes. Thanks for bringing this up! Love it.