RCIA & Adult Faith Formation: More Than Words—Apprenticeship in the RCIA

Authored by Dcn. Drake McCalister in Issue #3.2 of The Catechetical Review

When I entered the Catholic Church, I lost my “job” of 13 years as a Pentecostal pastor and had to look for other employment. The only available interview was at a Nissan dealership. In the interview, the General Sales Manager (GSM) said they were short staffed and I could have the job if I was willing to train myself by making use of their training videos. I was desperate for a job and said yes! I had no idea what I was in for.

I eagerly arrived for my first day at work and was given a shared desk with a phone and shown all the brochures for the different models of cars. After reviewing the brochures, I went to the assistant manager and asked to see the training videos. He looked at me with indifference. He said the GSM was off for the day and the videos were locked in his office.

I asked, “Well, if I can’t watch the videos, what should I do?” At that question, he became agitated. He looked at me and said, “Why do you need them? Sell me a car!” I stared back sheepishly, in silence. He continued, “Come on. How hard can it be? Sell me a car. Right now.” I uttered a few “ums” and he gave a few more commands on how I should be able to just “know” how to sell him a car. I meandered back to my desk and read brochures for the rest of the day.

Two days later, I realized I had no price sheet and didn’t know the cost of the cars. I tentatively approached the assistant manager again and asked him how to find the cost of the cars. Once again, he became agitated, looked at me and said, “Do I need to do everything for you? You gotta get out on the lot and look at the prices on each car. You gotta get to know the cars and their features.” I thought to myself, “You’ve got to be kidding me. There is no price sheet? There is no book that contains all the features with pricing options and my only way to knowledge is to wander the lot and look at sticker prices?”

As it turns out, there was a book with all the information that I needed, but they didn’t give me one. Eventually the other salesmen had mercy on me and began to show me the ropes—management never did.

I was thrown into an environment and expected to have a particular outcome without the requisite training. Instead of an opportunity for apprenticeship, I landed in a dealership of dysfunction. Many times, those who prepare to become Catholic experience the same thing. RCIA is often good at telling people what they need to do, when it should be showing people how to do it. The Church says that RCIA should be an “apprenticeship in the whole Christian life” (General Directory for Catechesis, 63; Ad Gentes, 14). So, what does an apprenticeship look like?

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

Editor's Reflections: Barbara Morgan—Pursuing Holiness
By Dr. James Pauley
Free What is holiness? In our lead article, Dr. John Cavadini describes holiness as the Second Vatican Council did, as “the perfection of love.” [1] How can we begin to imagine love’s perfection? Considered abstractly, we cannot wrap our minds around it. We need to somehow see it, if we are to understand the aim above every other in the Christian life... Read more
What Is Holiness?
By John C. Cavadini
Surely one of the most beautiful, one of the most enduring, and one of the most sublime teachings of Vatican II is the universal call to holiness in Lumen Gentium, chapter 5. I have never reread this chapter without feeling an increase of my own zeal for answering this call, even as I become more aware, at the same time, of how much I fall short.... Read more
The Way and Witness of a Holy Marriage
By Deacon James Keating
Free The matrimony of two of the baptized…is in real, essential and intrinsic relationship with the mystery of the union of Christ with the church…it participates in its nature…marriage is deeply seated and rooted therefore in the Eucharistic mystery.[1] This spiritual vision of marriage, as articulated by Cardinal Caffara, may appear as novel or even... 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