RCIA & Adult Faith Formation: In These or Similar Words

Authored by Dcn. 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

Youth & Young Adult Ministry: Perseverance, Not Perfection
By Alison Blanchet
“Parenting was so much easier when I raised my non-existent children hypothetically”. A friend shared this meme with me a few months ago, and it resonated. Before I became a mom, I had lofty ideas about how much screen time and fresh fruit children should consume. My parent-self, on the other hand, decided screen time doesn’t count if it’s Veggie... Read more
Encountering God in Catechesis
By Catechists' Personal Testimonies
The Treasure We Give With the smell of Domino’s pepperoni pizza in the air and the sound of girly giggles that had not quite settled down, a group of 50 or so high school students crowded in small groups on the carpet floor of the parish center on a Sunday night, ready for another catechetical lesson in the St. Gertrude youth ministry program. As... Read more
Children's Catechesis: Contemplation for Each of Us
By Sophie Galloy
Can a businessperson aspire to contemplation? A parent? A teenager? A young child? Don’t we usually see it as a privilege reserved for monks and cloistered nuns? Father Marie Eugene of the Child Jesus would say that each of us is capable of genuine contact with God, including the young child. Blessed Marie-Eugene was a French Carmelite priest born... 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