7 Quick Takes on welcoming enquirers, the power of prayer and how TIC can be used for young people preparing for Baptism
I was really delighted to receive this pic from Fr Tom Dubois… One of the young people in his parish is preparing to be baptised (wherever Fr Tom goes, it seems to me, there always end up being young people who want to be baptised…!) and they are using Transformed in Christ to prepare her!
Quite a cool thing happened this week. We had our first enquiry session, had some great refreshments ready, and were praying together as a team. And then, lo and behold, the room was packed out! I was amazed at the number that came. (Since then I have been contacted by four more!) One of the team remarked, “This is what happens when you pray!” and I felt myself begging God not to give us more than we were ready for. But, of course, he knows what he is doing. The session went really well. It seemed to work to have a session not on God, faith or the Church, but rather on what gives life purpose. It really got people talking. We will do the same next week, and start including testimonies from the team. In week four, we start to proclaim the Gospel message.
And just to add to the ‘praise report’… One man happened to wander into the church around an hour before the enquiry session started. He told us he had never been into a Catholic church before, though he said he’d been reading the Bible for a year. So we invited him to stay for the session. Not only did he stay, but he stayed for a long time after, discussing all manner of queries with our priest! I am just blown away at how God drew this man to us on precisely the night we started RCIA.
Another ‘praise report’… (are you going to get tired of this?!) The team planning the Bible Timeline in our area has done a lot to publicise and pray for this course. We prayed specifically for 40 people, and put out into the deep by buying 40 copies of everything ahead of time. In this area, it seems a lot to ask people to sign up for a Bible Study which is 24 weeks long. But, last time we checked, we have over 50 people signed up! This is truly remarkable. I’m telling you… if this can happen in our little neck of the woods, it can happen anywhere 🙂
Confirmation Programme update: I am working with Kathy Kielty, who did the wonderful artwork, to produce 22 Powerpoints – one for each Confirmation session. These Powerpoints will be freely available to download from each session’s page on the website. I have seen some of them, and they look fabulous. Very fresh, contemporary and bright. I think how we use Powerpoint is key in catechesis. The key Teacher in catechesis is, of course, the Holy Spirit, and we can quench the Spirit by having everything up on a screen. It is, however, useful to have some key points up (as long as they are presented beautifully) and of course to use it to display sacred art that you wish to refer to. I think we have got this just right in the Confirmation Powerpoints and I can’t wait to share them with you.
Next Saturday, I am excited to be leading a day for Confirmation catechists in Basingstoke to introduce the programme. I am doing it together with Sr Hyacinthe and the wonderful Formation for Mission team in Portsmouth. We have around 80 catechists signed up, so had to close the bookings. Some people have asked me whether I’ll do another one, and I’m sure I will, but will wait to see how this one goes first… Your prayers are appreciated!
Other than these various praise reports, I feel that September is well and truly ushering us back into ordinary life after a sun-drenched summer. It is still warm and hazy at the moment, but there is definitely a crispness in the air, and, because the month has been so well and truly busy, it has been a jolt back into reality. There is still something lovely about ordinariness though, don’t you think? So much of everyday, ordinary life is grace-laden, if we are open to perceiving it. Sometimes we just need to stop in our tracks to capture and contemplate it. There is so much we miss in this world if we forget to have a deeply contemplative heart…
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!