LITURGY MATTERS: Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) - Fanning the Flame of RCIA in the Church of Maitland-Newcastle

How lucky are we?! Anyone involved in RCIA ministry knows about Team RCIA: Nick Wagner and Diana Macalintal. They are in Australia in October and we have been able to book them for a whole day, right here in our diocese. Saturday October 19, venue and times yet to be organised, but presume a full day gathering. Our Date Claimer Flyer is available here.

As those who minister in RCIA know, the revision of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults prescribed by Vatican Council II placed initiation at the heart of the Church’s life, and therefore at the heart of parish life. The baptised are commissioned to proclaim the Good News and make disciples: to live in the world as Christ and to help those who seek meaning to know Jesus. Long before Pope Francis, the RCIA imagined the Catholic parish as a community of missionary disciples whose way of life revealed Jesus through its commitment to communion and mission. Indeed in the initial excitement about the revised RCIA, the thinking and reflecting Church could not imagine a parish without a vibrant RCIA.

Currently in our diocese, to my knowledge, there are nine parishes and one region hosting RCIA: Blackbutt North, Cessnock/Kurri, Chisholm, Glendale, Morisset, Newcastle, Singleton/Branxton, Taree, Toronto, Wallsend. Please let me know if I have overlooked you. October 19 provides these parishes with an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the Rite, and to review their ministry in the light of this.

For all those parishes currently not hosting RCIA, October 19 provides a unique opportunity to ignite the flame of RCIA. You could start talking about it now. Try to identify a few people who have a passion for initiation, form them into a team and get them to come along to engage with Nick and Diana. There will be some resources ahead of this visit that will support you in this. 

This visit also provides us with an opportunity to shine the wisdom of the RCIA on how we plan for and celebrate the Sacraments of Initiation with children. RCIA is meant to be the model for all initiation. It is not by accident that the first document in the Rite is Christian Initiation, General Introduction. We are hoping all parishes will alert their Sacramental Teams to this opportunity.

Schools are central to the pursuit of Jesus’ mission in our parishes and across the diocese. There can be no making of disciples (initiation), if the love of God is not first made known. Our schools participate in a wonderful ministry of proclaiming the Gospel to families, children and staff. The parish needs to be ready to welcome people who come seeking Jesus, longing for meaning and wanting to explore the Catholic way of life. The link between our schools and parishes finds its meaning in valuing the different ways each one contributes to Jesus’ commission to ‘Proclaim the Good News’ and ‘make disciples’.   

So, together let’s do all we can to prepare ourselves to make the best of the wonderful opportunity we have on October 19. Let’s try to clear any roadblocks that might prevent us from being there.

There will be more about RCIA in next week’s Liturgy Matters. In the meantime start your RCIA pondering, plotting and planning.

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Louise Gannon rsj Image
Louise Gannon rsj

Louise Gannon rsj is the Diocesan Co-ordinator of Liturgy.