RCIA & Adult Faith Formation: Reading the Signs

Authored by Dcn. Drake McCalister in Issue #5.1 of The Catechetical Review

If you have ever traveled internationally, you have undoubtedly experienced the challenge of interpreting unfamiliar signs. Deciphering these enigmatic symbols can be a funny exercise, as long as you are not desperately lost. The first time I traveled to Australia, my wife and I were regularly in stiches at the utterly unique signs. My favorite had to be the camel, wombat, and kangaroo caution sign. Seeing this sign was a clear indication that we were far from home and in very unfamiliar territory[CR1] .

The purpose of a sign is to teach the viewer something: warning, action, direction, etc. The Catholic Christian faith is filled with signs that are designed to teach, but just like unfamiliar signs in a foreign country, if someone does not clearly explain the meaning of the sign, we will remain in ignorance or left to make our best guess. Frequently, cradle Catholics do not understand the meaning of the signs that surround them and this leads to a deficient Christian life, lacking the full available richness .

When it comes to RCIA, explaining the meaning of the signs and symbols is all the more crucial. Being one who came to the Catholic Church later in life, I cannot state strongly enough how confusing are many of the actions within the liturgy to an uninitiated observer. I’ll never forget being handed the baptismal candle, when my children were baptized, and seeing the chi rho (☧) on the side of the candle. Not knowing what it was, I asked the three religious sisters present at the baptism what it meant and they didn’t know either. I now know and can give a wonderful explanation, but that is for another time.

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

Evangelization: Clear and Simple
By André Regnier
"We are living now in an age of inventions, and we no longer have to take the trouble of climbing stairs … I wanted to find an elevator which would raise me to Jesus, for I am too small to climb the rough stairway of perfection … The elevator which must raise me to heaven is Your arms, O Jesus! And for this I had no need to grow up, but rather I... Read more
La evangelización: clara y sencilla
By André Regnier
Estamos en un siglo de inventos. Ahora no hay que tomarse ya el trabajo de subir los peldaños de una escalera. … Yo quisiera también encontrar un ascensor para elevarme hasta Jesús, pues soy demasiado pequeña para subir la dura escalera de la perfección. … ¡El ascensor que ha de elevarme hasta el cielo son tus brazos, Jesús! Y para eso, no... Read more
Adult Faith Formation: Meeting Their Many Needs
By Martha Drennan
I grew up in a Catholic home, where most years of my elementary education were at a Catholic school, where we practiced Catholic traditions and devotions from time to time, where we always went to Mass on Sundays, and where I knew my parent’s greatest inheritance for me was the faith. In hindsight, however, I was a mediocre Catholic. If I... 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