Skip to comments.Help with RCIA (Vanity)
Posted on 05/31/2006 7:26:49 AM PDT by Juana la Loca
I was hoping some of my fellow Catholic Freepers could provide me with some direction. I attend a small parish in NE GA. The RCIA director has announced that he is retiring from his post, and they have asked me to take his place. I have been scouring the Internet for RCIA lesson plans and course outlines, but haven't found anything all that stellar.
Does anyone have any suggestions or resources that they could recommend to help me plan an orthodox Catholic RCIA curriculum?
Ignatius Press is selling a new adult education curriculum, which they're recommending for RCIA among other uses. I'll hunt for a link.
This site has some info:
If you find something, let me know. I just completed RCIA (confirmed this Easter), and the RCIA process I went through was HORRIBLE. No real concrete teaching other than some cursory study of Scripture (mostly duplicating the parallel "Break Open the Word" on Sundays). Lots of touchy-feely/listen to music/"FEEELLLLL the Good vibes" stuff. Virtually no mention of the Catechism.
If mine was any example, it's a wonder that the Church makes any converts at all.
Scott Hahn of EWTN and a professor at a conservative college has tapes for sale on the following:
Try Resources for Catholic Educators:
Pinging a former RCIA instructor.
It is divided up into topics based on the Creed, the Commandments, the Sacraments and the Our Father, each section just a few pages long and written in concise, clear and direct language with copious refrences to the appropriate Scripture passages.
It's not expensive and would be easy to base lesson plans around. Best of all, it comes completely pre-approved by the Holy See, so no liberal troublemaker has any persuasive grounds to challenge your choice of material.
**There is a brand-new 200 page summary of the Catechism published by the Vatican in a traditional question-and-answer format with beautiful illustrations chosen by the Holy Father.**
The new Compendium!
http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=38081 Get it at your local Catholic Bookstore; we got them at a reduced price there! -- don't bother with Amazon.
You might want to purchase Fr. Corapi's CDs on The Teachings of Christ based on the CCC.
The first half of this 2003 article was sort of interesting, going into the pros and cons of the two main approaches, the lectionary based and the curriculum based.
It mentions Bishop Wuerl going to the curriculum based method in his diocese. If that appeals to you, maybe contact them. What about your own diocese? I think mine, Sacramento, is fairly involved with the direction taken at the parish level. I would think your diocese would be able to offer you some assistance and resources.
I was looking for the manual our RCIA team uses but couldn't find it easily on the net. They take a lectionary based approach but relate the readings to specific doctrinal and discipline items and refer to the Catechism.
I've been a sponsor for several years now and I would prefer that they emphasize the doctrinal and discipline more than they do. Might as well give the catechumens and candidates everything up front before they commit themselves. They're adults, they can handle it. I think the precepts of the Church and things like penitential observance on Fridays bear mentioning more than once.
Leave room in every session for their questions even if they are completely off the topic. It's all for their benefit so their questions are really important.
And if anyone uses the phrase 'the spirit of Vatican II' I believe, as RCIA director, you are authorized to thrash them soundly about the head and shoulders.
Personally, I don't like the lectionary approach which leaves too much room for loosy-goosy stuff. The sessions end up being too much sharing-how-you-feel chatty sessions and left little room for actual doctrinal teaching. That's been my experience anyway.
Another vote for The Compendium.
Maybe. I'd say it depends on the personalities of the RCIA team. If they are orthodox they can make anything work.
I had some sobering experiences as an RCIA sponsor. I don't know who that 'spirit of V II' is but I don't think it is the Holy Spirit.
How about this book? Tongue only very slightly in cheek, I suggested we might try this with youth ministry:
Catholicism for Dummies (Paperback) by John Trigilio (Author), Kenneth Brighenti (Author)
CRASH COURSE IN CATHOLICISM is a weekly series soon to be broadcast on EWTN and based on our book Catholicism for Dummies Great resource for High School CCD, Adult RCIA, and used in college courses around the country as well as given as gifts by parents to their adult children who may need to reacquaint themselves to the Catholic faith and religion.
There are more than one billion Catholics in the world, and each one has a similar set of basic beliefs and practices that he or she follows. Some of the teachings of Catholicism are thousands of years old, while others are more recent. So what is the Catholic culture like and what do they believe? Catholicism For Dummies answers these and many other questions.
Whether youre a Catholic or not, you may be totally clueless or just unaware of some aspects of Catholic traditions, history, doctrine, worship, devotion, or culture. No sweat. Regardless of whether youre engaged, married, related to a Catholic, or just curious about what Catholics really do believe, this book is for you.
Catholicism For Dummies is not a catechism or religious textbook, but a casual, down-to-earth introduction for non-Catholics and reintroduction for Catholics. It gives commonsense explanations so that the next time youre invited to a Catholic wedding, Baptism, funeral, Confirmation, or First Communion, you wont be totally confused. Youll also discover other important topics that can help you better understand the Catholic culturefrom morality and devotions to worship and liturgy. This book will familiarize you with Catholicism by showing you:
What it means to be a Catholic: traditions, prayers, beliefs, and holidays
Who is who in the Catholic hierarchy
How Catholics worship
What the Seven Sacraments and Ten Commandments are
The book regarded as the most holiest (bad grammar alert!) to Catholics: The Bible
The Churchs stand on some sticky issues
Catholicism For Dummies presents a rich tapestry and history of the Catholic faithfrom devotions to doctrines. This intelligent and faithful look at Catholicism will open your eyes to this religion and answer many of the questions you may have about it.
Biography (Fr. Trigilio)
I am a Catholic Priest in Pennsylvania, a pastor of two parishes, president of Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, co-host of a weekly TV series on EWTN (entitled WEB OF FAITH), and co-author of several books. Originally, I had entered high school seminary after 8 years of Catholic grade school and while in college seminary, majored in chemistry & theology with minors in math & philosophy, so I could teach at a Catholic university as a priest-professor. Circumstances changed, and I prepared for the life of a parish priest, but always had a love of teaching. So, when the opportunity came to teach the faith via television and internet (EWTN) and then through writing books and giving lectures, I seized the opportunity. While being a parish priest and pastor is my primary vocation, explaining, teaching and defending the faith is more than just a hobby. My goal is to show how Catholicism is reasonable, understandable and helpful for those on the journey of faith seeking the fullness of truth and grace. Whether at the pulpit in church or in the classroom or on electronic media, I love and enjoy sharing the faith.
I am a Catholic deacon and led the RCIA program at our Church for years and this is what I would highly recommend:
1. The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
2. Supplement the above with any number of the on-line courses in scripture that can be downloaded for free from Scott Hahn's website.
3. Make sure that your place proper emphasis on preparing them for Evangelization (a faith you're not prepared to give away will be a faith that will begin to unravel).
Other hints: You can download Hahn's Scripture Courses, keep them as files on your computer and then on a weekly basis, e-mail the Scripture reading assignment to each member of the class for upcoming discussion. The other thing I would highly recommend is that at least monthly you plan for a community meal where each RCIA person brings a dish they have prepared. Many in RCIA come from Protestant churches where sharing a meal is the way they "do church." This also helps build community and a sense of belonging. Don't underestimate the power of a shared meal (remember the Eucharist was instituted at the Passover meal).
I and my pastor are very orthodox, and I have had a difficult time finding a good book to go with the class. After trial and error (and my money!), I highly suggest the following book:
Essentials of the Faith: A Guide to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Alfred McBride
Of course, the Catechism itself is a good book, and the Bible is ESSENTIAL. But the above book does a great job in explaining the faith in short 3 page chapters. I used the break down as the basis for my classes.
A word of advice - Don't make the class lecture only! You HAVE to incorporate Scriptures and discussion, even if it entails reviewing last week's lesson, but preferably, the current lesson.
If you would like, FR mail me and I can send you more information, perhaps even some of my outlines (30 subjects) and such, as they are Word Processor files on my computer. They might be of help in developing your own structure. It is a pain to start from scratch, so anything is helpful.
As to rituals and dismissals and so forth, again, FR mail me.
Brother in Christ,
3. Make sure that your place proper emphasis on preparing them for Evangelization (a faith you're not prepared to give away will be a faith that will begin to unravel).
It is ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL that people realize, from the very first day, that yours is not a "CLASS" where people graduate upon receiving the sacraments on Easter Vigil. Many RCIA courses stress this, sometimes involuntarily, and it leads to a large drop-out rate after the classes are done. You MUST stress, in EVERY class, the concept that Karl Rahner said (I'll paraphrase) "The Christian of the modern day will either learn to experience Christ, or he will fail by falling into mediocrity or legalism". People MUST see, in every class, that they can experience Christ in their own daily lives, and that the doctrines help to define their experiences to the objective reality of Revelation - since experiences are subjective, we need a firm basis - thus, the doctrines of the Church.
I just finished Mystagogy, where we concentrate on experiencing Christ. However, the whole course must touch on it so that people "are prepared to give away their faith", as the deacon says. During my research, I came across a study that showed that up to 70% of RCIA neophytes fall away from active participation after the first two years...Incredible. The main reason is that people are not experiencing Christ in their lives - especially through some sort of ministry - a use of the gifts God has given them for the sake of the Body, the Church.
Thus, I strongly advice that a person in RCIA learns to begin to experience Christ through sacrament, prayer, the Scriptures, everyday life, and ministry. Making the faith real (rather than a bunch of esoteric philosophical question/answers) is instrumental in making the neophytes (new Catholics) active in their faith. When people experience Christ, they will share their faith.
I am close, IF your screen name corresponds to San Diego. I live in Arizona!
The timeless classic is still the Baltimore Catechism.
Heh! "Self-education" was pretty much the key anyway, given the RCIA program. Fortunately, my wife (cradle Catholic) had gotten interested in apologetics, and had bought a bunch of books which were laying around the house. Being terribly addicted to reading ANYTHING, I got started reading those, and "it was all over". Hahn's "Rome Sweet Home", the first "Surprised by Truth", Keatings "Catholicism and Fundamentalism". I was basically fully converted before I ever set foot in RCIA.
I "could" accuse her of using a "sneaky" method to get me into the church---but I won't. But you might try it on YOUR husband :)
Excellent recommendations with the Scripture lessons from Scott Hahn.
**Thus, I strongly advice that a person in RCIA learns to begin to experience Christ through sacrament, prayer, the Scriptures, everyday life, and ministry. Making the faith real (rather than a bunch of esoteric philosophical question/answers) is instrumental in making the neophytes (new Catholics) active in their faith. When people experience Christ, they will share their faith.**
Add to this mix, one hour a week in Perpetual Adoration!!!!
Wonderful list! Thanks for posting the link!
Our RCIA was ghastly, too. So too-liberal, just awful. And of course so prideful. I'd use the Catechism and new Compendium of the Catholic Church if you want solid theology.
It wasn't a big stretch for us since we came from an Anglo-Catholic background. So most of the liturgical issues were very familiar. But we needed that full year before being received into the Church to really live into the Sacramental life. There were a lot of habits that we had to give up, especially private judgment. Obedience was and continues to be a learned behavior. I've come to see that it isn't a burden but rather freedom. It's hard to describe. Coming from the ravages of ECUSA madness, there's a sense of peace in being under the Church's authority. I hope I'm making sense.
Note the About Us section to see who the board of advisors are. It is a veritable "Who's Who" of orthodoxy including Fr. Trigilio, Fr. Levis, Pinto, etc. I'd also look into the Baltimore Catechism for the kids under 14. I just read an article in the Wanderer about a speech at a Legatus Convention in which Roeser (the writer) got a huge reaction to the wonders of the old Baltimore Catechism. I like the concept in the Catechism Class model, however. The Pastor can see who is screwing around in "class."
I believe it was first posted on Dom Bettinelli's site a while back. I looked it over and found it enthralling since it depends on a bit of "web savvy." Let us know what you think.
Sis boom bah!
Wow, Frank! I just took a quick look at the site, but it seems neater than grits! I especially like the cost of $50 per family for unlimited number of children :-).
We have a pretty good religious ed program at our parish, but the hour-per-week (with lots of weeks off) isn't anything like enough ... and they all love doing things on the computer instead of workbooks!
I'll talk to Der Prinz about this.
Congratulations on "Coming Home", Joe
Thank you. I've become a daily Mass person and every morning I come away with more wonder than the day before.
Keep me posted on how you like this method. I gotta get off of this computer. Bad storm is coming.
The offspring were very positive yesterday, and I was impressed with the lower-grades' content level. Our parish program wasn't teaching the kindergarten about natural revelation and divine revelation!
If either of you decide to go more into this, could you let me know what you think? I love the family discount and the Board of Advisors is stellar. I don't know if any Diocese has adopted this, but I'd love to know.
I have a keen interest in this for some reason. Perhaps it is because I have seen children graduate from parochial schools who can't say the prayers of the rosary.
I have enrolled our five "school age" children. They're thrilled already, and haven't even been through a full week.
Our parish does not have classes after Confirmation year (9th grade) although the older teens participate in the youth activities, some of which are educational :-). I think this is a great way to have Anoreth continue with a structured religious education program which brings in many important and interesting aspects of Catholicism. She reads lots of Catholic books, but I believe that having the lessons follow the lectionary will help to "integrate" the material she's reading with what she has learned in the past and with what goes on at church.
The level for the youngest children (K-2) is excellent. It's roughly at the reading level of a bright 2nd grader, so I'm having to read it to my 6-year-old, but that just makes it more fun for her. The second level (3-5) is comprehensible for my 8-year-old, but still contains plenty of new material for my 9-year-old, who was booted out of 4th grade RE halfway through this year because he already knew everything.
The 3rd level is challenging for my 12-year-old. Having links to different sites with articles, pictures, or music is a good structure, with his short attention span.
Since our church has no classes for children during the summer, other than one week of VBS, I think this is a great way to keep them learning throughout the year. I passed on the site to a friend in Oklahoma who also has 8 children; it will be interesting to see what she thinks.
Ah, well, if it's going to be Son Treasure Island which EVERY church in America will be using this summer, then CatechismClass will be a welcome relief.
Try driving through the countryside this summer and look at the banners outside the church advertising VBS and tell me if they don't say Son Treasure Island. *rolls eyes*