RCIA & Adult Faith Formation: Reading the Signs

Authored by Fr. 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

Catequesis Infantil: La catequesis de niños que llegan de lugares difíciles
By Alison Blanchet
Ellos no conforman mis “historias de gloria”. Son los niños en los que pienso a las 3:17 A.M. Los rostros de los niños que, según mi mejor entendimiento, no logré alcanzar. En medio de la noche, las cosas que dije e hice – a veces con la mejor de las intenciones y a veces desde un punto de frustración y desesperanza absolutas – vuelven a... Read more
Youth & Young Adult Ministry: A Missionary Catechesis for Young People
By Bob Rice
The 1997 General Directory of Catechesis contained a statement about catechizing youth that I found to be both profound and prophetic: It must be emphasized, however, that frequently contemporary evangelization of young people must adopt a missionary dimension rather than a strictly catechumenal dimension. Indeed, the situation often demands that... Read more
AD: The Next Pope and more books from Ignatius Press
By Colleen Rainone
Free To order these books and films from Ignatius Press click here. Or call 1-800-651-1531. Let them know you saw the ad here. This is a paid advertisement in the January-March 2021 issue. Advertisements should not be viewed as endorsements from the publisher.... 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