If someone asks you about becoming Catholic this summer, don’t tell them to come back in September. You can start catechizing them right away, even if you don’t have a year-round process. Here are 20 ideas to get you started.
- Invite the inquirer to Sunday Mass; ask a parishioner to sit with the inquirer.
- Ask a family to invite the inquirer to dinner or a summer barbecue in the parishioners’ home
- Find a parishioner to accompany the inquirer to the parish festival or other summer event
- Ask a member of the food pantry team (or other outreach ministry) to accompany the inquirer at their next event
- Introduce the inquirer to members of the parish music ministry
- Ask someone who goes to adoration or holy hour to invite the inquirer along next time
- Introduce the inquirer to five parishioners after Mass next Sunday; follow up with an e-mail to each parishioner asking them to pray for the inquirer
- Give the inquirer a tour of the parish facilities; explain the major symbols in the worship space
- Arrange for a 15-minute meeting of the inquirer with the pastor; ask a member of the RCIA team to be present at the meeting
- Mail a birthday, anniversary, or “Happy Summer!” card to the inquirer’s home
- If your inquirer is named after a saint, ask is she knows anything about that saint; or explain who the saint is that you are named after
- Ask the parish rosary group (or other prayer group) to pray for the inquirer; let the inquirer know he is being prayed for
- If your inquirer is a parent, arrange for child care so she can have a “date night” with her significant other
- Teach your inquirer how to say the “Glory be…”; ask him to say it every morning and night
- Give your inquirer a prayer book with the Sunday readings in it (e.g. Give Us This Day)
- Introduce your inquirer to someone who went through the catechumenate process recently
- Ask someone who goes to weekday Mass in invite the inquirer along next time
- Ask a communion-to-the-homebound minister to invite the inquirer along next time
- Explain to your inquirer who or what your church is named after
- Ask someone who regularly lights votive candles to explain what it means to her to the inquirer
Please add your own ideas to the comments section below.
3 thoughts on “20 ways to catechize this summer — even if you don’t have a year-round catechumenate”
Great ideas, Nick! Summer can be a hard time for many parishes when it comes to the RCIA, but I’ve always said, “If the Holy Spirit is calling them now, who am I to say ‘come back later.'” Christ would never turn someone away, yet we as Church can get too caught up in schedules and processes that we forget that we need to answer the Spirit whenever it comes calling. Regardless of the time of year, you should schedule the initial entry interview, learn their story, and begin to map out with them what it will take to get them to their goals… especially if there are marriage issues (the sooner these can be put into process the better!).
When it comes to activities, find out what your parish is doing and see if you can get your inquirers and catechumens engaged in these activities. Remember, they’re not just joining the faith, their joining a community. One thing our Adult Faith Formation team has done is sponsored a Summer video series as a way to reach out to the larger parish community and to keep our regular formation process going through the Summer. There are any number of excellent videos and video series available, from a variety of publishers. There are also a number of excellent feature films and TV mini-series that can be used for catechesis and discussion. Your religious education office may even have a video library available that could be used.
Another activity we’ve done is to invite our inquirers and catechumens (and maybe the rest of your parish) on some field trips. Take them to visit the Cathedral for your diocese, or any other significant holy sight. If you’re in California there’s probably one or several of the original California Mission churches close enough for a day trip visit. Give a guided tour of your own parish church. Anything you can do to make them feel welcomed and engaged will be a blessing!
We have a monthly Mystagoggle Reunion potluck. We’ve invited inquirers who we know and those who are not yet self-identified to join us. At the last one, we all shared our faith journey stories, including an inquirer. It’s been great fun and tasty, too.
We are remodeling our church, so when complete, it will be a great time to offer tours to parishioners & inquirers alike.
This summer of Covid may not allow us to implement some of these ideas, but I think there are ways we can still think of how to invite the community to be in contact with the Inquirers.