The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

RCIA and Adult Faith Formation: Christian Initiation for Families: A Rescue Mission of Mercy

Authored by Lori Smith in Issue #9.1 of Catechetical Review

Having realized the growing need for a process of Christian Initiation for Families at our parish that serves unbaptized children of catechetical age and their parents, we have developed, implemented, and continue to fine-tune our rescue mission using a family approach for our mid-sized parish. One of the adjustments made is we now refer to the process as “Christian Initiation for Families” rather than “RCIA Adapted for Families.” “RCIA” is insider language, and, since we are hoping to attract entire families along with their unbaptized children, we realized that although they may not know what RCIA is, they will usually understand the title “Christian Initiation.”

In issues 7.1 and 7.2 of The Catechetical Review, there is a two-part article titled “RCIA Adapted for Families: It’s All About the Parents.”[1] Indeed, it is. The value of evangelizing parents is confirmed over and over for us as we continue to unfold the crucial mission of the Church in this, our time in salvation history.

Part one of the article spoke of the grace of the sacraments lying dormant in the souls of the parents due to a lack of response. It also considered the term quasi-catechumen coined by Pope St. John Paul II in Catechesi Tradendae[2] and used in the Directory for Catechesis,[3] identifying “adults who, although they have been baptized, have not been adequately formed.” The directory then went on to emphasize the effectiveness of using a “catechesis of catechumenal inspiration,” as stated in the Directory, “for those who have received the sacraments of initiation but are not yet sufficiently evangelized or catechized, or for those who desire to resume the journey of faith.”[4]

What we have discovered in practice is that although it is true the parents have not been “sufficiently evangelized or catechized,” they do not necessarily desire to resume their journey of faith when bringing their older children for baptism. The desire for relationship with Christ implanted by God in their souls needs to be enkindled. In other words, although we can be certain the desire is present, they do not perceive it. Nor will they, unless it is awakened by others who are already burning with this desire.


[1] Lori Smith, “RCIA Adapted for Families—It’s All About the Parents,” The Catechetical Review 7.1 (January-March, 2021), and 7.2 (April-June, 2021).

[2] John Paul II, Catechesi Tradendae, 44.

[3] Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, Directory for Catechesis (Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2020), 258.

[4] Directory for Catechesis, 62, emphasis original.

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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 [email protected]

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