September 24, 2016
“The people of God…should understand and show by their concern that the initiation of adults is the responsibility of all the baptized.” ------- RCIA, no. 9
Good day and Peace to everyone. I help coordinate the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) in the parish. It has been over 40 years since the Catholic Church gave us a “new” way of initiating not only adults but children 7 years of age and older. People needing to enter the door of Baptism that makes us all of one family. People needing to be strengthened by the Holy Spirit who lives within us all. People needing to embrace Jesus in the most holy Eucharist. RCIA opens that door to the sacraments of initiation. The bishops want the RCIA to be a priority in the parish because it does allow for the renewal of parish life. The people that have come to our parish family are seeking how to better understand their Faith and in doing so, begin their journey of conversion. The parish community becomes instrumental in the development of the relationship they seek to have with God, through Christ Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our community should be a reflection of an already functioning love of God in both word and deed.
For the last several weeks our newly invited candidates have been discovering who they are in the Body of Christ. In the beginning, we learned what brought these individuals to San Felipe de Neri Parish. Soon they began to recognize that someone or situation may have brought them but now it was up to them to make a commitment to the process for themselves. In doing so, they were making a commitment to look at things in a different way. Does this work for me? What isn’t working for me? I asked them to commit to the first period of inquiry. To be open to what they would hear and experience as a group and most of all trust me. I am happy to say they did.
We explored the creation story of heaven and earth from the book of Genesis. This is
our story. None of us need be isolated from what God has created. We need to be aware of it and our duty to take care of it. Soon they discovered that God is Love. To be in relationship with God we must walk in Love. We learned God’s definition of love from 1 Corinthians 13 – “…Love never fails”. We learned too, how different God’s values are from what we see being lived out in the world around us. That led us to prayer. Little by little we need to make positive changes that bring us into alignment with God’s values. We are both spiritual and physical beings made in the image of God. We need to be aware of the needs we have in both of our natures. In prayer, we find hope. God never leaves us.
The last couple of weeks we centered more on what it is to be Catholic. We broke down word by word the Apostles Creed. This is who we are and what sets us apart from our other Christian brothers and sisters. Lastly we came together, as the small family we have become and looked at how, as Catholics, we worship and give glory and thanks to God. Our church is rich in symbols to help us remember. Our church is rich in tradition. We need to know our history as a church and embrace it. We need those who have gone before, to be good role models. That’s all of us.
Next weekend, September 25th, they will be celebrating their desire to move into the next period of the process. As a community we will be celebrating with the “Rite of Acceptance and Rite of Welcoming” at the 7am Mass. They will be introduced by name and they in turn will ask for our prayers and support as they continue learning about their Faith and how to live it in their daily lives.
Say hello, to them when you see them. Throughout the process, we will be at all the Masses so that they can meet you all. It has been said that when we help someone, we often feel the benefit more than the person we have helped. Welcome them, pray for them and our team.