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RCIA: Letters to Julie
Dear Teresa, I have been asked to run our parish RCIA, as the person who leads it has moved away. She left some details saying that the group meets once a week on a Monday night. They come in, she explains a doctrine to them, they talk about it for a while and then go home. Wouldn’t it just be easier for my priest to give them instruction? That’s what happens in my old parish. Julie Dear Julie, Thank you for your question. The way RCIA is delivered in parishes varies a lot. So, how do we know what we should be doing? The best way is to look to what the Church teaches. The restoration of the ancient catechumenal process (called for in five documents of the Second Vatican Council!), is a reflection of the Church’s wisdom in going back to a tried and true practice in order to lovingly bring people into her fold.[i] Why did the bishops so strongly desire a restoration of the Rite of Christian Initiation? Why not continue to rely on individual instruction by a priest to receive those interested in becoming Catholic or completing their initiation through Confirmation and first Holy Communion? Bringing adults into the Church through RCIA is a very ancient practice of the Church. We know this because well known saints of the 4th to the 6th centuries (St Augustine of Hippo and St Leo the Great to name but two) described what they said and did in writing, so we have first hand knowledge of their catechumenal processes. Please note Julie, RCIA was and is a process.