Workshop for RCIA teams Aug. 14-15 in Iowa City


By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger

Members of RCIA teams are invited to a workshop aimed at helping them to build evangelizing parishes that involve the entire community in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). The RCIA Institute will be held Aug. 14-15 at St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City.


Workshop presenters are Nick Wagner, director and founder of, and Diana Macalintal, director of Worship for the Diocese of San José, California. Wagner has more than 25 years experience as a leader and trainer in liturgical and catechetical ministries. He strives to translate theological principles into simple and clear language that inspires joy, commitment and passion for faith. He has authored numerous articles and several books on parish ministry.

He was also an active team member with the North American Forum on the Catechumenate.


Macalintal has served as a liturgist and music director in campus, parish and diocesan ministries for more than 20 years and has authored articles on liturgy and music. In 2003, she received the Tabat Scholarship from the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions. She is a team member of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate. She also serves as a liturgy director for national conferences and as a cantor and liturgical composer. She maintains a blog for the Diocese of San José called Work of the People.

“Pope Francis talks about what the church will look like in the ‘New World.’ In this New World, we are going to need radical, committed, passionate disciples,” Wagner says on his website. “If we’re honest, I think a lot of us think of the RCIA as a really cool way to make Catholics. We aren’t really thinking of making missionary disciples. What does that even mean? How would we even start?” he asks. That’s something participants will talk about during the Iowa City workshop. Wagner invites RCIA teams “to help figure out how the RCIA can make a real difference in our parishes.”

The Diocese of Davenport’s Liturgical Commission is sponsoring the workshop, tailored toward veterans and “newbies” of RCIA teams. Participants will learn how RCIA is a powerful conversion process; how to apply the core principles of the RCIA to any faith formation process; the skills needed to build an evangelizing parish and a thriving RCIA team; and how to grow a pool of passionate, engaged sponsors. Participants will also engage in prayer, liturgy and discussion.

RCIA “is not just about making Catholics,” said Tammy Norcross-Reitzler, a Liturgical Commission member and Campus Minister for St. Ambrose University in Davenport. “It’s looking at, ‘How do we form people into a life of faith, to become people who follow Christ and live that faith every day of their lives?’”

Norcross-Reitzler has been involved in RCIA for 15 years or more. One thing she’s observed: “Every year is different. Just when I think I have it figured out, I have a new group of people with different circumstances and challenges. I’m never going to stop learning about RCIA.”

The presenters don’t pretend to have all of the answers, either. But they do have plenty of experiences to share and to spark ideas, added Norcross-Reitzler. Asked what she hopes RCIA teams will take away from the workshop, she said: “that they would focus their energy on connecting people in the RCIA process to the life of the parish. I hope they would move away from the textbook-only approach and focus RCIA efforts on a more spiritual process of conversion that has more to do with living our faith. RCIA is supposed to be tied to liturgy and the life of the parish.”

What: RCIA Institute
When: Friday, Aug. 14 beginning at 7 p.m. and concluding Saturday, Aug. 15 at 4 p.m.
Where: St. Patrick Parish, Iowa City.
Cost: $55. Rooms can be reserved at the Clarion Highlander in Iowa City.
Register: Online at

The workshop is made possible in part by a Forum Legacy Grant, which honors the work of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate.

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