Let us continue to pray for all who have been impacted by the hurricanes
O God, you set the earth on its foundation and command all the elements, hear our cry in this time of need. Show us your mercy in this time of trouble. May we find in this disaster an occasion to serve you by generously reaching out to those who have lost their homes, the hungry, the broken and all in any need. May those who have suffered in this disaster find relief and may those who have died be brought into your arms of grace. We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.
Unleash the Gospel and the RCIA, Part 2
In the last issue of Worship News we looked at the oft repeated answer to the challenge of change: “But we have always done it this way”. Today I would like us to think more deeply about the goal of the RCIA process.
The goal of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is no more or less than to make disciples.
Just last week I had the privilege of meeting with three of the leaders of the RCIA process in parishes of the Archdiocese who had attended the National Gathering on Christian Initiation - 2017 in Chicago…Joyce Shelton, Vivian King, and Joni Scott. We had lunch together at the seminary and they shared what they had learned.
My first question to them was: What is a disciple? The Pastoral Letter is challenging the faithful of the Archdiocese to morph into missionary disciples. But what does it mean to be a disciple…how do we form others to be disciples? How do we make disciples? Their answer was:
A DISCIPLE IS ONE WHO RESEMBLES THE MASTER.
A DISCIPLE IS ONE WHO BRINGS THE LOVE OF JESUS TO OTHERS.
A DISCIPLE IS ONE WHO SHARES THE GOOD NEWS.
I had done some serious thinking about what it means to be a disciple. Who were those first disciples? What was it that made them disciples? They were ordinary people like you and me. They hungered for the truth, were fiercely loyal, they had fear and doubt, some let their passions rule them instead of faith in God, some were rash and unthinking and had a fiery temperament, etc. They were fishermen, farmers, tax collector; they were men and women…. and all of them followed Jesus.
Wherever he went they seemed to come out of the woodwork usually looking for a miracle. But they also listened carefully to what he said and sometimes they teach us the meaning and challenge of faith. I think of the woman with a hemorrhage "If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured"; the Canaanite woman… “Please Lord, for even the dogs eat from the table of their masters”; the paralytic man lowered from the ceiling … “Jesus saw their faith”; etc.
There also were those, closest to Jesus, whom we call the apostles. They were each called by him individually and followed him for three years sharing food and conversation, listening to his sayings, his parables and their explanations. They really got to know him at least at some level of what it means to get to know someone. But it was only after the coming of the Holy Spirit that they began to understand what it would cost them to be apostles…when Christ was no longer present…when they had to live what Christ had been teaching them.
THE GOAL OF THE RCIA IS TO FORM THOSE WHOM CHRIST IS CALLING TO BE DISCIPLES … WHO WILL LIVE WHAT CHRIST HAS TAUGHT THEM
My second question to Joni, Vivian and Joyce was: How do we help our catechumens become disciples? Their answer was:
Team RCIA has produced a handout which has a list of things that are essential for every catechumen to learn.
- We share the Gospels with them
- We accompany them as they get to know Christ
- We listen to them as they struggle with what Christ is revealing to them in the scriptures and what they are hearing from the world around them…sometimes the stories in the news provide the matter for this listening
- We answer their questions and teach them what they are ready to learn
- We share our stories with them…our failures and our successes in living the Gospel message
- We pray for them, train sponsors to walk the journey of faith with them, celebrate the feasts of the liturgical year with them, and invite them to join us as we serve those in need in our community
For decades our Popes have been sharing with us what catechesis is.
All of this should give us pause to rethink the way we are catechizing. A set of topics that we have chosen for them may not be the appropriate way to catechize. Remember, adults only learn what they are ready to learn. We can certainly plan a year’s worth of topics…but we have to remember the catechumenate is not a school. We can certainly bring in different speakers to tell them what we believe as disciples…how we have lived as Catholics for many years but how does this help to make them disciples.
- For Pope Paul VI “catechesis was made up of simple words and actions that were able to touch the heart of others.” (Catechesi Tradendae #4).
- For Pope St. John Paul II “the primary and essential object of catechesis is … the mystery of Christ…to put people not only in touch, but also in communion and intimacy, with Jesus Christ…We are not merely dispensers of knowledge. We are agents of conversion. We are healers.” (Catechesi Tradendae #5)
- For Pope Francis “…all evangelization (disciple making) is based on the Word of God listened to, meditated upon, lived, celebrated and witnessed to…” (Evangelii Gaudium, #174)…He also reminds us that we need to “….keep in mind the fundamental message: the personal love of God who became man, who gave himself up for us, wo is living and who offer us his salvation and his friendship” (Evangelii Gaudium, #128)
We have to remember that we are dealing with the unbaptized who have not yet received the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who will enlighten them, and truly make them disciples. We are there to walk with them, challenge them, listen to what they are hearing in the scriptures, listen as they begin to compare what Christ reveals as opposed to what the world is telling them, listen to their successes and their failures and be there as they make their decision to be a disciple or not. As Archbishop Vigneron shared at the Lay Ecclesial Conference: What we are about in the Archdiocese of Detroit “…is changing our culture, our DNA…it is not a program, not a membership drive…it is about Christ…and Christ wants more friends to be counter cultural to our present culture of fatalism…what is happening in the scriptures is happening here in Detroit…we are living the mystery…we are earthen vessels and God is with us."
As I continue reflecting there are questions that continue surfacing, namely:
Would we be more faithful to the process described in the RCIA if we followed #6 in the National Statutes for the Catechumenate and extended the Catechumenate for one year?
What would happen if we concentrated on CONVERSION during the Catechumenate and saved the deeper doctrine until after initiation?
What question comes to mind when you reflect on the Pastoral Letter and the RCIA process in your parish? I would love to hear from you so that the reflection on Unleash the Gospel and the RCIA can continue. Click here to share your reflection.
RCIA Topics Schedule
The following is the schedule for the RCIA Topics every other Saturday from September 9th till November 4th. All topics will be held at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. It will be important to register early for these presentations. I really do not want to cancel them again because of lack of registration. Click here for the full schedule and here to register.
Rite of Election 2018
The schedule for the Rite of Election in 2018 is as follows:
|Saturday, February 17
|Sunday, February 18
For Pastors and Worship Commissions
Beatification of Father Solanus Casey
The beatification Mass for Fr. Solanus Casey, OFM Cap., will take place on Saturday, Nov. 18th, at Ford Field. Tickets will be made available to the general public starting October 9 at www.fordfield.com . Individuals may also contact their local parish for more information about obtaining tickets. Parishes were able to request tickets for their parishioners.
For information about parking, lodging, transportation or volunteer and donation opportunities go to: beatification.visitdetroit.com
For those interested in donating to supporting the Mass please contact Kristi Hassouna at: email@example.com. Archbishop Vigneron is calling this mass a history-making liturgy similar in magnitude and significance to the 1987 visit of Pope St. John Paul II. A plenary indulgence will be available to those who take part in the beatification Mass and who “are properly disposed.”
There seems to be some confusion about how many times a deacon may receive Holy Communion on any day.
It is proper that a deacon receive Communion if the pastor has scheduled him to be present and acting in his role at the celebration of the Eucharist. It may happen that a deacon has been asked to be present as deacon for more than one Mass. According to the Office of Divine Worship of the USCCB a deacon would be limited to receiving Communion only twice a day.
There is a new way of asking for a Papal Blessing. These parchments are now being offered by a Vatican Office with the proceeds from the sale of these parchments going to Charity. This website has all the information you need.
Preparing for Confession
The office has prepared a template that parishes can personalize and distribute to parishioners to help them prepare to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation.
According to Canon Law, "On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass. This year the Fourth Sunday of Advent falls on December 24, Christmas falls on Monday, December 25. Some people are beginning to ask: Can I satisfy both obligations by attending Mass on the evening of December 23?
The prevailing view of canon lawyers is that each obligation must be fulfilled by attending a separate Mass:
Parishes will need to be creative in scheduling Masses over this weekend ... perhaps cutting one of the Sunday morning Masses. Those Masses scheduled for the Fourth Sunday of Advent will need to honor the focus of this celebration ... it is not Christmas. The Worship Commission suggests that the lights not be lit on the trees for this Mass, that the flowers not be placed yet, in order to preserve the anxious waiting for the Christmas celebration.
Liturgical Calendar for 2017-2018
Attached is the liturgical calendar with feasts and celebrations for 2017-2018. This had been shared in an earlier edition of the Worship News and is repeated here for those who may have missed it.
1. May a couple be married on December 8, a holy day of obligation?
YES, but there are some restrictions, namely:
2. Is it necessary to keep a copy of the birth certificate at the baptism of a child?
NO. At the baptism, the birth certificate must be presented. The necessary information is copied for entry into the Baptism register. The birth certificate is then returned to the parents. In the present age of identity theft there is a lot of fear of having vital information available to many people.
- You may use the Order of Celebrating Matrimony without Mass with all of the readings coming from the texts provided for the celebration of Marriage
- You may use the Order of Celebrating Matrimony within Mass ... however the Mass prayers and readings will be those for the feast of the Immaculate Conception. But since the ritual Mass and readings cannot be used the church permits one of the readings of the Mass to be taken from the texts provided in the Celebration of Marriage.
3. How long should initial information about those in the RCIA process be retained?
Once the catechumen is fully initiated or the candidate is received into full communion with the church, the information is recorded in the Baptism register and the Archdiocesan Interview Form and Envelope are destroyed. This information is confidential.
New Archdiocesan Certificates for full initiation, Baptism, Confirmation and First Eucharist
New Archdiocesan Certificates for those who are welcomed into Full Communion with the Catholic Church
Guia Para La Preparación de la Liturgia de la Confirmacion: the Spanish copy of the Guide for the Preparation of the Confirmation Liturgy
Parishes around the Archdiocese are offering workshops and other experiences for adults who are interested in growing their faith. These are advertised in Parish Mail. You may request to be placed on the list of those receiving the news at aod.org/parishmail.