Q. We have eight seekers in our RCIA process. Only three or four are participating in Sunday Mass. I have stressed the importance of Sunday Eucharist, and I’m baffled about how to deal with this challenge. Do you have any suggestions?
A. Thanks for your question. I hear you and know how you feel! When I was a college campus minister coordinating the process — with students living on campus. At times our seekers were nowhere to be found. They didn’t show up for Mass! I felt discouraged, but then I remembered that, just like me, they have lives as well and things happen. Abundance of grace.
I would encourage you to check in with each of them individually — and reach out to the sponsors. Not only for accountability, but for true discernment. Reaching out can mean “tough love,” but it is also a reminder that discipleship means commitment and responsibility, not just “becoming Catholic.”
Involve your whole community
During your regular formation sessions, invite various parish leaders to get to know the catechumens and candidates by showing up to a session. Not to teach but just to accompany. They can also be a resource and check in, say hi, etc., so that you aren’t the only person “checking in.” This post can help with ideas: 10 Ways to Involve Parishioners in the RCIA Process
Also, check out Diana Macalintal’s book, Your Parish is the Curriculum, The book includes some good strategies that flow from the Sunday liturgy into the week.
Here are some more blog posts that could be useful:
- What RCIA teams struggle with most
- Knowing content is not sufficient for RCIA…according to the pope
- Should you ever fire a catechumen?
- Are your catechumens ready for the next stage?
And I have reassurance about this concern we all share from this post that was shared a few months ago:
Worship will mean more than just Sunday Mass
In that absence of Sunday Mass during the pandemic, we have discovered or rediscovered the rich treasury of worship available to the church. We will continue to worship in a rich variety of ways in our household churches. In a similar way, we now have an expanded understanding of sacrament. While we have been isolated from the official seven sacraments, we have learned that we are still a sacramental people who reveal Christ to one another.
I hope this helps give you some ideas. Please know of our prayers for you and your ministry!
How do you talk with seekers in your parish about their attendance at Mass? What does discernment around this look like in your parish? Share your thoughts in the comments below.