The first TeamRCIA institute of 2015 was a great success. Ninety of us gathered in Richmond, Virginia to explore the basics of the RCIA process.
There were many memorable moments, but one of the best was the mystagogical reflection on our adapted Presentation of the Creed. We celebrated the rite at the end of the night on Friday in the Bishop’s Chapel at the Roslyn Conference and Retreat Center. We gathered there again the next morning to reflect on the ritual. The sense of the Spirit being among us was powerful, and the feeling of God’s presence carried through the rest of the day.
One thing participants learned
The Making Disciples Institute is designed to be very interactive and participant driven. There are multiple opportunities throughout the institute for verbal, written, and artistic input and response from the participants. One participant noted that it was important not to dismiss the rite book (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). Because of the extensive use we made of it, she realized the rite book is filled with lots of helpful guidance for RCIA teams.
Another participant commented that it became clear to him that the rite book isn’t just for the staff or the priest. It’s a resource for the entire parish team. Our work with the text made him realize there is no mystery to understanding what the RCIA has to say.
One thing we learned
Diana and I always come away from these events with a deeper understanding of the initiation process also. One thing we heard that we thought was a good idea is that in the Richmond diocese, at the Rite of Election, the catechumens who are not being elected are present. At the appropriate point in the liturgy, they are called forward and dismissed from the assembly. We thought this was a good way to catechize parishes that haven’t yet moved to a year-round model that there is no set time when all the catechumens “graduate” together.
Hospitality in the Richmond diocese was amazing. Our plane was delayed, which meant we got in late on Friday night. The local team, realizing there would be no open restaurant near our hotel, had a huge food and wine basket waiting for us at the front desk. Getting to know and work with the wonderful folks in the diocesan office was a highlight of the trip for us.
We have many more institutes scheduled across the U.S. and Canada in 2015. I hope you can join us for one of them. Click here to see if we will be near you. One participant in Richmond told us, “I’ve been working in RCIA for 35 years, and this event rebooted me on the real focus of how to implement conversion to Jesus.”
The most challenging question we got was, “How do you get parishioners to be on fire about Jesus?” We shared some thoughts with the folks in Richmond, but really, we’d love to know what you think about that. What have you tried that has been successful? Please share your thoughts below.