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

Catechetical Methodology and its Application to the Lives of Human Beings
By Dr. Gerard O'Shea
This article explores chapters 7-8 of the Directory for Catechesis. Introduction and Context It is now twenty-three years since I eagerly read the last General Directory for Catechesis and made efforts to implement its teachings within the catechetical programs in some of the Catholic schools in Australia. Much has changed in our world since 1997... Read more
Inspired Through Art: The Nativity with the Infant St. John by Piero di Cosimo
By Linus Meldrum
To project the artwork onto a smartboard click here. Piero di Cosimo is one of the most interesting artists of the Renaissance. His biographer was Giorgio Vasari, the contemporary of Michelangelo who is considered to be the first art historian. Vasari collected stories about the most famous and popular artists from the Renaissance, and his book,... Read more
Encountering God in Catechesis
By Catechists' Personal Testimonies
Movement of the Holy Spirit Have you ever had the experience of walking into your classroom and, after careful observance, prayerfully deciding to pivot away from your planned lesson? This happened to me a few years ago. I had prepared diligently for a lesson on the Sacrament of the Eucharist. I was ready to use my short time with the students to... 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