Rosie Rundell has been a Pastoral Associate for Seven Dolors Catholic Church in Manhattan, Kansas, for 21 years. She has been involved with RCIA ministry for over 30 years in four different parishes. She received her undergraduate degree from Benedictine University, Atchison, Kansas; a Masters degree in Pastoral Ministry and a certificate in Spiritual Direction from Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis, Missouri. She is a certified Parish Life Coordinator for the Diocese of Salina.
Does your parish have a year-round RCIA process? Do you have a story you’d like to share? If so, please send about 1,000 words to Nick Wagner, email@example.com.
After 12 years of working collaboratively as co-director of our RCIA process with the parish across town, we made the choice to start year-round RCIA at Seven Dolors Catholic Church. That was five years ago, and it is the best decision we could have made! No longer do I dread the call that invariably comes in February or March of someone wanting to become Catholic.
Instead, I can, without dread, meet them the following Sunday and introduce them to the current candidates and catechumens already on this journey to the Catholic Church. Their initiation “apprenticeship” begins immediately.
It was challenging at first. So many questions on how this could possibly work but through the grace of God and a supportive pastor and team, each challenge was addressed without much frustration. It works! When we got out of the mindset that we were “teaching a class” instead of forming disciples, it became much easier.
The RCIA helps seekers experience the church
Change is good! The parish became the “team” along with other permanent team members. It is a win-win situation. Gathering each Sunday made it possible for the parish to get involved as disciples themselves. It has also proven to be an evangelizing experience for all.
When we got out of the mindset that we were ‘teaching a class’ instead of forming disciples, it became much easier.
The neophytes from the classroom model have been involved with the “year-round” process and state they wished they could have become Catholic using this model instead of the classroom model. They now experience the Catholic Church instead of being “talked at.”
Using a lectionary-based approach and the resources provided by TeamRCIA has given me the confidence that we truly are forming disciples in our parish. I would never go back to the way it was.
Has your parish RCIA been able to flexibly welcome new seekers? How are you fostering a process that meets seekers where they are? Share your thoughts in the comments below.