RECOMMEND RCIA PROGRAM?

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gneillewis

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Can anyone out there recommend a good - and orthodox - RCIA program? We are seeking one to replace the one our parish has been using - which includes prayers to father-mother God etc. A lot of the theology is watered down.
 
I find it strange that a parish would seek out a “Program” for RCIA when RCIA is a catechetical and Liturgical process. We developed our process using the Catechism, The Scriptures and some of the Fathers. I developed a list of 50 catechetical topics 1-25 for Catechumens and 25-50 for Candidates many with PowerPoint presentations. Handouts from scratch for each with references to additional CCC#s and Scripture passages. We use some videos and hands on objects. The sessions vary in format from catechist to catechist. Always on Tuesday 7 to 9, with year round Inquiry from 6 to 7. (Inquirers are then dismissed prior to the regular session) We have BOW (Breaking Open The Word) after dismissal from a Mass they attend as a group. As with the catechetical sessions different leaders rotate for BOW. The Rites take place as needed at several different times during the liturgical year, with 3 Rites of Welcome and 3 Rites of Acceptance. Candidates celebrate the Rite of Reception 3 times a year. The Easter Vigil is focused on Catechumens with Candidates being received at a different time is our improvement goal for this year. Mystagogy continues for 8 Tuesdays after Easter and then once a month as a Small Christian Community, guided not lead, by a Catechist.

The book that I buy for the BOW leaders is Foundations in Faith one book for each liturgical cycle A,B, C. It’s by RCL.
 
Recently a friend of mine shared the tapes of Fr. John Corapi, THE TEACHING OF JESUS CHRIST. There are 24 tapes- each two hours long . Fr. Corapi leads you through the catechism while addressing many of the mixed messages left from the Second Vatican Council. I’m not sure if it can be used for RCIA but it would be a wonderful supplement.
 
We have used the Book - This is Our Faith Revised by Michael Pennock as a ‘text’ of sorts. Each facilitator adds to this as they have time/resources such as videos. It has references throughout to the Catechism.
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gneillewis:
Can anyone out there recommend a good - and orthodox - RCIA program? We are seeking one to replace the one our parish has been using - which includes prayers to father-mother God etc. A lot of the theology is watered down.
 
  • Can anyone out there recommend a good - and orthodox - RCIA program?*
As far as I know, there aren’t any, and I have looked hard for one that we could use in our parish. We have had to create our RCIA program from scratch, which seems very strange to me considering how long the RCIA program has been operating in the USA.

You can find many books and tapes about the RCIA process, and they will all say that an important element of the RCIA process is a systematic catechesis of the faith. But none of the books that I have read have given a hint as to how this is to be accomplished. During the Rite of Initiation, the catechumens are going to be asked if they accept everything that the Catholic Church teaches. Where does the catechist draw the line about what is going to be taught in RCIA? The bishops give no guidance. I have talked to many people online that have gone through an RCIA program. Superficial touchy-feely RCIA programs seem to be the norm for most parishes.

We have given all our catechumens and candidates the universal Catechism of the Catholic Church as a reference book, but that book is written for bishops, not catechumens. It is simply impossible to cover the CCC word for word. There must be a balance struck between being superficial and going overboard in catechesis. How to strike that balance is the biggest challenge of developing an RCIA program. Well … that and finding some Catholics in your parish that actually believe everything that the Catholic Church teaches, and that are willing to get involved in teaching an RCIA program. There are far too many cafeteria Catholics that want to take over the RCIA program, usually the same Catholics that are interested in bringing all sorts of liturgical innovations into the parish to make the Mass more exciting …

God help you if Father Groovy and Sister Issues are running your parish’s RCIA program.

Maybe Catholic Answers should develop an RCIA program!
 
“We have given all our catechumens and candidates the universal Catechism of the Catholic Church as a reference book, but that book is written for bishops, not catechumens.”

That is not correct. Fidei Depositum the document presenting the Catechism to the world is addressed to “ALL the people of God”. Every Catechumen and Candidate must have their own copy and taught how to use it properly. All our talks and handouts are keyed to the Catechism. That is one way to insure that the catechists teach what the Church teaches. They sould not say it if they can’t cite it.
 
If anyone is interested I have a three part (3 day) Team training Power Point presentation on the 1.) Rite, 2.) The Process, 3.)The Implementation. As well as a Team Formation one and a Sponsor formation one. I will send to anyone interested. Request via Email.
 
A recommendation is to check with the Dept of Worship in your Archdiocese and see what they recommend for your parish. If it is too water down call the Catholic Answers helpline, I’m sure they would have some great (name removed by moderator)ut.

God Bless!
 
Br. Rich

**CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

PROLOGUE

THE AIM AND INTENDED READERSHIP OF THE CATECHISM

12** This work is intended primarily for those responsible for catechesis: first of all the bishops, as teachers of the faith and pastors of the Church. It is offered to them as an instrument in fulfilling their responsibility of teaching the People of God. Through the bishops, it is addressed to redactors of catechisms, to priests, and to catechists. It will also be useful reading for all other Christian faithful.

All our talks and handouts are keyed to the Catechism. That is one way to insure that the catechists teach what the Church teaches. They sould not say it if they can’t cite it.

Sounds like a great idea to me. Can you post the Syllabus that you use for your RCIA program?

How about some responses from converts that went through the RCIA program? Did you feel your RCIA program incorporated a systematic presentation of the faith? Did you come to see a logical coherence to Catholic doctrine after attending RCIA? Were you shown scriptural arguments to support Catholic dogma such as the infallibility of the Magisterium?

Do you feel that you were adequately prepared to give informed assent to the question, “Do you accept everything that the Catholic Church teaches?”
 
Can you post the Syllabus that you use for your RCIA program?

If that is allowed here I’ll do it tomorrow? Or I can Email.

How about some responses from converts that went through the RCIA program?

We have them fill out an Evaluation form every six sessions.

Did you feel your RCIA program incorporated a systematic presentation of the faith?

Absolutely!

Did you come to see a logical coherence to Catholic doctrine after attending RCIA?

The people that have come into the Church in the last three years are the most staunchly orthodox Catholics in this somewhat liberal parish.

Were you shown scriptural arguments to support Catholic dogma such as the infallibility of the Magisterium?

We show them Catechism references, Scripture references, Fathers, and Church Documents in the handouts.

Do you feel that you were adequately prepared to give informed assent to the question, “Do you accept everything that the Catholic Church teaches?”

From the tough questions they have asked and we answered, over the course of the time they were with us. I would say they meant exactly what they said, “I DO” At this point I only know of one person who has left the practice of the Catholic Faith. Some have moved or changed parishes but all the others are still active Catholics.

As the group dynamics change we change the structure of the presentations. If they tend to want more Scripture we give them that, if they want more Catechism references we give them that, most love the references to the early Christian writings. WE use all different types of presentations to incorporate different learning styles.
 
Here is the list of topics and their specific order.

Christian topics for the Catechumenate:
  1. The Journey
  2. God/ Who is God?, The Trinity, The Incarnation
  3. Christology
  4. The Holy Spirit
  5. OT Salvation history
  6. Divine Revelation (Scripture and Sacred Tradition)
  7. The 10 Commandments
  8. Magisterium (Catechism and Church documents)
  9. The Creeds
  10. Prayer/ Prayer styles
  11. Grace/ Virtues
  12. The Sacraments (in general)
  13. The Mass (up to dismissal)
  14. Open Q&A
  15. The Life of Christ ( the Gospel message)
  16. Beatitudes
  17. Stewardship
  18. Seven deadly sins
  19. Morality
  20. The Our Father
  21. The New Testament story
  22. History of the “Early” Church
  23. Primacy of Peter
  24. History of the Bible, The Gospels
  25. The Liturgical cycle
  26. Open Q&A
*. Lent

*. Christmas season

Catholic Beliefs and Practices for both the later Catechumenate and Candidates:
  1. The Journey
  2. Catholic devotions and sacramentals (Stations of the Cross, Rosary)
  3. Rites, (Welcome, Acceptance, Election, Vigil)
  4. Liturgy (The complete Mass, liturgical prayer)
  5. Communion of Saints
  6. Mary
  7. Open Q&A
  8. Structure of the Catholic Church
  9. Church history
  10. The Eucharist
  11. Baptism, Confirmation
  12. Marriage, Holy Orders
  13. Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick
  14. Precepts of the Church
  15. Organization of the Catholic Church
  16. Religious orders
  17. Doctors and Fathers of the Church
  18. Catholic social teaching
  19. Eschatology (Judgment, Heaven, Hell, Purgatory)
  20. Open Q&A
  21. Ecumenism
  22. Retreats, Pilgrimages, Shrines, Monasteries
  23. Catholic Organizations and Apostolates
  24. Angels
 
Yes definitely. But I don’t know what program they used. I will find out. They had to be basing it on the Catechism because (geek that I am 😃 ) I was reading it at the same time and the questions they asked were answered by it (i.e. I knew the answers based on the reading I was doing, which went along with the program) So, did they tell us they were following the Catechism? no. Were they apparently following the Catechism? yes. Did we cover everything verbatim in the Catechism? of course not. Did we cover most of it? yes. Could I answer honestly to Do I accept everything the Catholic Church teaches? absolutely! They went through the Mass, the Sacraments, the liturgical year, the foundation of the Church, the Trinity, the lectionary, the basis of Scripture, Tradition, some history, the Creed and it’s basis and the pieces of it, the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes… probably more than that, but that’s specifically what I remember off the top of my head.

And I feel better knowing that the Catechism is aimed at people more astute than me, because it sure does take a lot of concentration to read it 😛 . But I’ve found that I’ve gotten better at it the more I do it.
 
Let me make an slightly off-beat suggestion. I’m the high-school religious ed director and I recently got a hold of the Didache books here: Didache Series and I think they are incredibly well done. So much so, I think it would take little effort to translate them from a high school setting to an RCIA program.

Scott
 
Br. Rich SFO

How long are your RCIA classes? We meet for 90 minutes, and typically at least a half hour is taken up with “faith sharing” activities. That leaves one hour max for catechesis. Are you trying to cover each of your numbered topics in one RCIA class? For example, how can you present “The Eucharist” or “The New Testament Story” in one hour without being superficial? We used to have an RCIA program that was superficial, and I am struggling trying to find the right balance.

Thanks for posting your syllabus. Your syllabus certainly seem to cover the most important aspects of the faith.
 
First thing and the most important is that the real Catechesis does not take place on Tuesday night. It takes place after Tuesday night with the Candidate or Catechumen reading and discussing the additional handout material with their sponsor (good well trained sponsors are important).

Our sessions are two 45 minute segments with a 10 minute break between them. The remainder of the time is open for Q and A on the topic presented. Sometimes Questions may carry over to the time after or during BOW the following weekend. ALL of the teams catechists are available to Sponsors or Candidates or Catechumens, by phone or Email between the sessions. Sometimes we may not get out of there to go to our team meeting/discussion which takes place after each session until 10pm. (it starts at 7 we are there and available for questions at 6:30pm)

I use Power Point (they average 60 to 80-90 slides)and have 20 or so topics prepared. I can print out the presentation so that they can take it home and look at it again if they wish. (we use a lot of copy paper) We are not superficial and I dare say that the pastor does not like it sometimes, but the people love it.

I joke around when I present Church History. This year we did the first six hundred years separate from the rest. But before we broke it up I would joke that they needed to write fast because I was going to cover 22 years per minute!
 
Maggie
  • Could I answer honestly to Do I accept everything the Catholic Church teaches? absolutely!*
If our candidates and catechumens can say that, then I will consider our RCIA program to be a complete success.
  • I don’t know what program they used. I will find out.*
I would like to know if they purchased a program that was developed by someone outside your parish, or if members of your church created their own material for catechesis.

How did your RCIA class handle the topic of artificial contraception? Was it clear to the catechumens and candidates that they had to accept the church’s teaching that practicing artificial contraception is a mortal sin? That seems to be the biggest stumbling block that I am banging into. Did someone explain NFP? Was the Pope’s theology of the body ever mentioned?
 
Br. Rich SFO
  • First thing and the most important is that the real Catechesis does not take place on Tuesday night. It takes place after Tuesday night with the Candidate or Catechumen reading and discussing the additional handout material with their sponsor (good well trained sponsors are important).*
How do you find sponsors that are willing to get involved at that level?

What is additional material that is being read during the week by your catechumens? Do you have a set of books that you are using in addition to the Catechism?
  • I use Power Point (they average 60 to 80-90 slides)and have 20 or so topics prepared.*
80-90 powerpoint slides used in 90 minutes of catechetical instruction? Whew! How many CD’s would you have to burn to hold your Power Point presentations on all 20 topics? Would you consider selling copies of your Power Point presentations?
 
How do you find sponsors that are willing to get involved at that level?

You look for people who would make good Sponsors and talk to them personally. You then have to give them something that will benefit their own spiritual growth.

What is additional material that is being read during the week by your catechumens? Do you have a set of books that you are using in addition to the Catechism?

Sometimes it is printed material that has been purchased. Things like Pillar of Fire/ Pillar of Turth a little Catholic prayers and devotions book, material from the Knights of Columbus, etc. The other handouts I write myself.

I use Power Point (they average 60 to 80-90 slides)and have 20 or so topics prepared.

80-90 powerpoint slides used in 90 minutes of catechetical instruction?

There are many that are shorter in the 40 or so range, there is only two or three that approach 90. The one on “Divine Revelation” and the one on the “The Sacrament of The Eucharist”

Whew! How many CD’s would you have to burn to hold your Power Point presentations on all 20 topics?

They are really simple PP’s . They all fit on a single CD.

Would you consider selling copies of your Power Point presentations?

No, I give them away.
 
Here are some questions about artificial contraception that I would like to open for discussion on this thread. I would especially appreciate (name removed by moderator)ut from converts that have gone through RCIA or those who are involved in teaching RCIA.

How did your RCIA class handle the topic of artificial contraception?

Was it clear to the catechumens and candidates that they had to accept the church’s teaching that practicing artificial contraception is a mortal sin?

Was the Pope’s theology of the body ever mentioned?

It seems to me, that the catechist teaching RCIA has the duty to make it clear that unless the catechumens and candidates are willing to accept the church’s teaching on artificial contraception, that they should not be asking to receive the Sacraments of Initiation. I want to present the Church’s teaching about artificial contraception in a positive light, not a negative and proscriptive light.

Any (name removed by moderator)ut on how to accomplish this would be appreciated!
 
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