Bishop invites public to program designed to reinvigorate RCIA process
RCIA, or Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, is one of the most fundamental of Catholic initiatives, a process designed to introduce, educate, and guide people into the Catholic faith; yet, as the U.S. Catholic Bishops recently discovered, many parishes in the United States have failed to address the RCIA process.
Bishop Ronald M. Gilmore has introduced a workshop called, “Why RCIA?” which will be presented in English from 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18 at St. Joseph Church in Scott City, and in Spanish from 2:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 19 at St. Anthony Parish in Liberal.
The public is encouraged to attend this program. “I am grateful for those many people in our diocese who give their time, talent, and yes, treasure so that through RCIA we may make new disciples and renew the old, faithful ones,” Bishop Gilmore said. “It is out of this gratitude that I offer ‘Why RCIA?’. I pray that it will be an enriching experience for the RCIA veterans and an inviting experience for those new or unfamiliar with the RCIA.”
Both the English and Spanish programs will be presented by Father Tim Piasecki, former member of the board of directors for North American Forum on the Catechumenate, and pastor of St. Mary Parish in Aurora, Ill. Father Piasecki served in Montero, Peru for several years and is an instructor in liturgy for ministry formation and a presenter on topics of liturgy and Christian Initiation.
“From the very first days, Jesus has sent his Church to make disciples of all nations and to baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” Father Piaskecki told the Register. “Although we have succeeded in baptizing the nations, we have not always been as successful in making disciples.”
Father Piaskecki said that “it is one thing to be a card-carrying member of the Church and quite another to be a disciple, one who learns from Christ and who brings his teachings into the family, the workplace, the voting booth.”
RCIA, he said, is a “marriage of liturgy and catechesis. With liturgical rites and teachings, people are called to follow Jesus in the Catholic Church, prepare themselves for their life as disciples. The goal is to equip candidates with what they need in order to take their place in the world as authentic disciples of the Lord Jesus.
“Our workshops will address the Church’s vision for this Rite as well as some how-to tips for implementation,” Father Piasecki said. “Work in these Initiation ministries is so very exciting. To be a part of the joy and journey as someone finds the happiness of knowing God’s unconditional love and forgiveness never fails to renew one’s own faith and commitment to Christ and his Church.”
Participants in RCIA who are seeking baptism are known as catechumens, while participants in RCIA seeking full communion are known as candidates. Catechumens undergo a process of conversion as they study the Gospel, profess faith in Jesus and the Catholic Church, and receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.
“Why do our bishops want the RCIA to be a priority in our parishes when there is so much else going on in parish life?” asked Bishop Gilmore. “How does it renew a parish? And what’s it got to do with each of us?”
“Why RCIA?” will address these questions about RCIA and give a step-by-step explanation of the Rites.
“When we commit ourselves, our energy and our resources to the RCIA, we commit our parishes to continuing the mission of Jesus in the Church and in the world,” the bishop said.