Catechesis and the RCIA: Introduction

The General Directory for Catechesis  (and the  National Directory for Catechesis  echoing it) states that “Given that the  missio ad gentes  is the paradigm of all the Church’s missionary activity, the baptismal catechumenate, which is joined to it, is the model of its catechizing activity.” (90)

For those of us in the catechetical ministry there is real value in having a working knowledge of the RCIA.  Two years ago I was blessed to participate in a Beginnings Plus workshop put on by the North American Forum on the Catechumenate, which challenged my  preconceptions  about what catechesis is and how it is done. More recently  my diocesan department  (which consists of seven different offices) engaged in some shared study on the four periods of the RCIA and their implications for our work.

Unfortunately, in many parishes and dioceses the structure in place for catechesis is removed from the structure for initiation and catechists are not familiar with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). This is a shame because the two are so closely related and, as the GDC intimates, the Church’s understanding of  all  catechesis is heavily informed by her understanding of the baptismal catechumenate.

Starting next week, over the course of four or five posts, I will share some reflections based on those experiences. Looking at the individual periods of the RCIA, I will draw out some themes for catechesis in general. I hope that you will add your own thoughts so that this can be a conversation rather than a lecture. (And if you are a catechetical leader and don’t have a copy of the RCIA — get one!)

Photo by  CameliaTWU/flickrCC

Other posts in this series:

  1. Catechesis and the RCIA: Mystagogy (March 7, 2012)
  2. Catechesis and the RCIA: Purification and Enlightenment (February 6, 2012)
  3. Catechesis and the RCIA: The Catechumenate (January 18, 2012)
  4. Catechesis and the RCIA: The Precatechumenate (January 4, 2012)
  5. Catechesis and the RCIA: Characteristics (November 22, 2011)
  6. Catechesis and the RCIA: Introduction (November 14, 2011)