Hope in the RCIA
I haven’t written for a while about our RCIA in Portsmouth. You’ll probably remember we started a new process here nearly a year ago (you can read about how we started it here, there’s an update here, something on the Rite of Acceptance here, and the first retreat we did here). In the Catechumenate, we’ve settled into a rhythm of teaching, prayer and discipleship… and yet the challenge is not to allow everything to settle to the point of becoming flat and losing dynamism. We’re keeping the fire lit by having a testimony from a different parishioner each week, by having Adoration and a retreat each term. At the end of last term, we went to Quarr Abbey for a day, and this term, we’re heading to the Poor Clare Convent in Arundel.
How are we structuring the Catechumenate? Each term is dedicated to a different theological virtue – last term was “Faith”, and this term is “Hope”. All the doctrines we’ve taught in each term have been linked to that virtue, and yet, each term the teaching has been systematic and comprehensive. A new enquiry group entered into the Catechumenate at the beginning of the “Hope” term and they could quite happily slot in without missing anything. The “Hope” term runs from the Fatherhood of God and Creation, right to the “last things”. The sacraments we teach in relation to hope are Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick. From the third Part of the Catechism, we look at the Dignity of the Human Person and the first three Commandments. We also teach on prayer in most sessions, and, of course, have Adoration.
I feel that in the Christian life, there is a great benefit in forming habits (e.g. coming to formation every week, praying every day), and in order to achieve this, we need a long period of Christian formation. We also need frequently to invite candidates to see where they have experienced God in their life, and we often do this in small groups at the beginning of the session.
Next term, we’ll move onto “Love”. This is where we look at the last seven Commandments, matrimony and Holy Orders, the “life issues”, living your faith in everyday life, vocation, and evangelisation. This is when we step up our prayer for our candidates 😉