By Barb Arland-Fye
Twenty-five Church leaders from the United States and Canada, including Bishop Martin Amos, participated recently in a consultation on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) in linked/clustered parishes.
The North American Forum on the Catechumenate organized the Oct. 14-15 event in Albuquerque, N.M., to gather input for future programming to be delivered to dioceses, Bishop Amos said.
“What they’re trying to do by 2012 is to have some sort of program or workshop to present to dioceses on how to celebrate RCIA in multiple parishes,” he said. A number of parishes already cluster or collaborate in the Davenport Diocese; some work together on the RCIA process.
The consultation event began with a sharing of participants’ own experiences of multiple parishes collaborating in the RCIA process. Much attention was paid to the four pillars of the RCIA process: Word, liturgy, community and apostolic service.
“We talked about some of the opportunities with RCIA in multiple faith communities and identified some of the challenges,” Bishop Amos said. “Then we weighed the opportunities and challenges.”
Participants worked in small groups to identify strategies to advance opportunities and address challenges, and then offered those proposals in scenarios targeted to specific audiences. Bishop Amos was assigned to role play making a pitch to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He asked the bishops to re-affirm their commitment to the RCIA process. He pointed out the necessity of being able to incorporate it in multiple faith communities. He suggested that the bishops share best practices as they observe them in their own dioceses and spoke of the benefits of RCIA: evangelization, sharing of gifts and bringing about conversion — and how that requires funding.
From here, “the Forum will continue its work in developing programs that are helpful to dioceses,” the bishop said.