The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

RCIA & Adult Faith Formation: Beyond RCIA – Accompanying the “Newly planted”

Authored by Elizabeth Siegel in Issue #2.3 of Catechetical Review
Why do so many newly baptized Catholics stop practicing their faith within only a couple years? The causes of attrition are various, and can include inadequate catechesis in the RCIA process, lack of interior conversion to Christ, and insufficient support and connection with other Catholics or the wider parish community.[i] Let’s think about these new Catholics for a minute. Still wet from baptism and glistening with the oil of confirmation, they now have a new status and, according to the tradition of the Church, a new name. The elect who have been initiated into the Catholic Church are called “neophytes.” The term neophyte comes from the Greek, neos, meaning new, and phutos, meaning grown or planted, so, literally, “newly planted.” The former catechumens are now newly planted or grafted onto the Vine who is Christ. Initially, the term neophyte meant only those receiving full sacramental initiation; it has come to refer equally to candidates who are received into the Church. They retain this special name and status for a year following their initiation. If the neophytes are fortunate, their parish provides a post-baptismal catechesis called Mystagogy, which lasts until Pentecost. Yet, whether at Easter or at Pentecost, the RCIA experience ends, and they set forth to begin a Catholic life, but now unaccompanied—seemingly alone and often surrounded at work and at home with non-Catholics, who are anything but supportive of their new faith. They are “newbies” in a faith that takes a lifetime to learn, in a world ever more hostile to the basic premises of Christianity. Their need for pastoral care is, one could argue, every bit as great as when they were engaged in becoming Catholic. No gardener would put his new plants in the ground unprotected in the early spring. No, he would keep them in a greenhouse, or cover them with plastic, and keep a careful watch on them. Just so, the newly planted need to be accompanied and strengthened as they “practice” being Catholic. This is the purpose of the “Neophyte Year.”

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Catechetical Review (Online Edition ISSN 2379-6324) and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of The Catechetical Review by contacting editor@catechetics.com

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Encountering God in Catechesis
By Catechists' Personal Testimonies
For Communion Growing up Protestant, sacraments seemed fairly irrelevant to me. It was not until I turned fifteen that I decided to get baptized because I knew that if I accepted the terms of what baptism meant, by Protestant standards, then I needed to truly accept Christ and all that it meant to follow him. As a Methodist, I always wanted to be... Read more
Viaticum: Sacred Food for the Final Journey
By Fr. Tyron Tomson
We never know which Holy Communion might be our last. We make a big deal of our First Communion, and rightly so. But why don’t we have a strong catechesis and spirituality of Viaticum, that final time we receive the Body of Christ before our soul leaves our own body to meet him? As a Church, perhaps we are missing a robust eucharistic spirituality... Read more
From the Shepherds – A Half Century of Progress: The Church’s Ministry of Catechesis, Part Three
By Monsignor John Pollard
The General Catechetical Directory (1971) – Catechesi Tradendae (1979) In this series of articles exploring a rather extraordinary fifty-year period in the Church’s catechetical mission, we have already considered the impact of the six International Catechetical Study Weeks. We now turn our attention to three pivotal catechetical documents... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now