RCIA & Adult Faith Formation: In These or Similar Words

Authored by Fr. Drake McCalister in Issue #2.2 of The Catechetical Review

Before I became Catholic, if there was one word that summed up my evangelical Pentecostal Protestant experience, it was “spontaneous.” If there was one word that summed up my perception of the Catholic experience, it was “rubric.” My perception was that Protestants were spontaneous and therefore “authentic,” while Catholics had rubrics and were therefore “lifeless.”

After I became Catholic, I began to work with RCIA and discovered that apparently I’m not alone. While concluding an RCIA inquiry meeting one year, I closed in an extemporaneous prayer and, when finished, one of the inquirers said out loud, “Wow! I had no idea you could pray like that. I thought Catholics could only pray memorized prayers.”

As I have settled into being Catholic, I’ve learned the key to “authenticity” in prayer is not spontaneity but sincerity. Yes, there are many rubrics and prewritten prayers, but these are given to ensure that the faithful will hear more than an individual’s personal insights. As the tears streamed down my face during the Mass where my wife and I were received into full communion, there was nothing “spontaneous” about the event. The fact that I knew what was coming did not make it any less powerful or life giving.

I’ve also learned that there is room for spontaneity. Like most things in the Church, it is both/and, with everything being done in its proper place and time. This article will examine aspects in the Church’s RCIA that allow for “planned spontaneity.” I use the phrase “planned spontaneity” because they are not truly spontaneous, but areas where the Church gives the celebrant freedom to adapt a particular part of the rite. I hope this article will inform those who direct RCIA and inspire priests to be more pastorally effective.

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

From the Shepherds: Our Personal Vocation
By Bishop Jeffrey Monforton
Free A fund amental theme that runs throughout Sacred Scripture is to be called by name . In other words, in the eyes of God, you and I are not simply one in a crowd, nor are w e a serialized number. Our social security number can be a record of our living in the United States, but that very number fails to define who you and I are. In the eyes of God... Read more
Nuestra vocación personal
By Bishop Jeffrey Monforton
Free Hay un tema fundamental que corre a lo largo de la Sagrada Escritura: ser llamado por su nombre . Dicho de otra manera, en los ojos de Dios, tú y yo no som os simplemente uno del montón, ni tampoco somos un número seriado. Nuestro número de seguridad social bien puede ser un registro de que habitam os en los Estados Unidos de América, pero ese... Read more
Educating in the Lord’s Ways
By Dr. Petroc Willey
This article explores chapters 5-6 of the Directory for Catechesis. When we have reached chapters five and six in the Directory we would be forgiven for being tempted to jump nimbly over these two chapters into the details of methodological considerations so amply provided in chapter seven and the focus on different groups to whom we minister in... 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