At 9:30 Mass this Sunday we celebrate the Rite of Acceptance into the Catechumenate. This is the second of four stages in the Right of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). The first stage is Inquiry, the second is Catechumenate, the third is Enlightenment, and the fourth is Mystagogy.
The RCIA is the process by which a non-baptized person is initiated in to the Christian community. In the past, here at St. Isidore and in most parishes, the RCIA (Catechumenate), has been a nine month process, beginning in September and ending with the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil. Most parishes have a nine-month program. However, the rite itself calls for the process to be year round. That is our goal at St. Isidore. Our Catechumenate Team, under RCIA Coordinator John Kovacik, has been working very hard over the past year to move to a year round process. This has involved several of the team members attending numerous classes and workshops in order to be certified for the RCIA. It takes a large, well trained team to lead a year round process. This is because several stages, with different participants, run simultaneously throughout the year.
As it is now, if someone comes to us in January requesting to become Catholic, we have to tell them we will get back to them in September to begin the process. Obviously, this is not good! With the year round process, a person will be able to immediately enter into the Inquiry Stage, and then, when ready, enter the Catechumenate Stage with a group of peers. That group will be following a track other than the group accepted into the Catechumenate earlier, meeting at separate times with different catechists.
In the past, we celebrated the Rite of Acceptance only once a year, usually just before or at the beginning of the Advent Season. With our new process, we plan on celebrating the rite more than once a year. We will do so whenever new participants are ready.
I strongly believe that a proper Catechumenate process can help transform a parish community.
I thank John Kovacik and his hardworking, dedicated team: Bernadette Kovacik, Ann De Rey, Beth Beebe, Matt Hunt, Tim Palmer, and Bill Hicks.
Have a boo-tiful Halloween!