Fellowship after RCIA?

Hello everyone,

I “graduated” from RCIA at the 2014 Easter vigil. Now I’m looking for more resources to help me continue growing in my newfound faith. I know some of the main goals I should keep in mind:

a) Maintain an active prayer life.
b) Go to Mass / adoration / etc. as often as possible.
c) Make use of the sacrament of Reconciliation.
d) Perform works of mercy (feeding the hungry, etc.)

But what I MEAN by this question is: I really want to find a group of people or a piece of writing that encourage me in my faith, to “go forth and sin no more,” and so forth. I’m not trying to discount the importance of (a-d), but I’m really missing the personal encouragement I got from meeting and studying in RCIA. Any book or group suggestions? :shrug:

And a second (though to me, less important) question: I feel like fellowship of this sort is more commonly seen in Protestant churches. Any idea why?

Thanks so much for your help. I hope this isn’t a silly question. :o

It’s definitely not a silly question! In fact I think it’s vital.

One of the things I strongly, strongly encourage the RCIA folks in my parish to do is to check out various groups and ministries in the parish so they can see where they can be connected after RCIA is over. I think those connections take a couple of forms – one is the actual meetings you attend, the other is that you get to know people in the parish, people you can greet on Sunday morning and pray with at Mass.

I’d encourage you in the same way. First, is there something happening in the parish that you’d like to be involved with? If so, do it!

Something important to my faith life, and in turn something that I invite all our neophytes to take part in, is a small faith-sharing community. My group meets weekly to read and talk about the readings for the upcoming Sunday and see how they affect our lives and what we’re called to do. This kind of sharing in a small group brings you together with people in a way that’s different from anything else I know. We not only talk together, but help each other, pray for each other, and love each other.

After RCIA, I spent one year of going to Mass every Sunday (just being a new Catholic Christian). I studied my Bible (reading all the daily Mass readings), I started praying the Liturgy of the Hours, and read a lot of books about the Catholic faith and history. After about one year had passed, I started helping out in RCIA. I later joined the Bible study class, became a Eucharistic minister and a Lector. So my answer is: get involved in your parish, Bible study is the easiest thing to start off with right away. Good luck!

Dear Sayeh,

In fact, there is a period of instruction after one’s initiation, called mystagogy. Jeannine Marino, J.C.L. describes it in the USCCB blog post Catholic Conversion Process Unwrapped:

After receiving the Easter Sacraments, the neophytes (newly initiated) continue their faith formation during the period of mystagogy (which means “interpretation of mystery”). Mystagogy is the time of post-baptismal catechesis. It typically lasts for one year. This time allows the neophytes to reflect on their experience of the sacraments, Scripture, grow closer to Christ through the Eucharist and participate more frequently in the parish. The parish community is called to mentor the neophytes as they begin to live as Christian disciples and fulfill their baptismal vocation to evangelize. One way to support our newest brothers and sisters in Christ is to invite them to join a parish ministry or to dinner!

Unfortunately, many parishes today do not keep this centuries-old tradition (along with many others, but that’s another topic). If you search around your diocese you might be able to find a parish which provides mystagogy. The chancery (diocese office) might be able to help you in that regard.

May God bless you as you grow in the faith!

Explore all the existing groups in your parish and find the ones interest you and check them out - Bible Study, Small Church Community, Book Club, Rosary Group, Divine Mercy Group, Knight of Columbus if you are a male, Columbiettes if you are a female, Young Adult Group if you are a young adult, Senior group if you are a senior, Chior if you like to sing, Mom’s support group if you are in that category, etc. etc… And whenever your parish provides retreat, has special speakers, or offers any other spiritual related activities, do participate.

You can also volunteer for the RCIA, become a team member to support and help the incoming RCIA candidates.

God bless!

:thumbsup:

Well, our parish certainly offers this. It’s on the schedule from the start. Unfortunately, there is such a big build-up to reception into the Church at Easter that many do feel like they have “graduated” and stop coming. It’s a real problem, as you say. We often wonder where these people go. We have encountered them outside of the parish and said “How are you? We miss you! I haven’t seem you at church, perhaps you attend a different Mass or a different parish even?” And the answer is usually “Oh, I’m really busy”.

???

Besides having the Stewardship Director come in and speak about ministries available, it would seem that we need to do a better job of continuing to embrace them and strengthen the friendships that have developed. We’re looking into ways to do this at our parish. Would be interested to hear what other parishes do to keep the people engaged and active. Their sponsors seem reluctant to call them up and ask them where they are…:rolleyes:
But in many cases, they are just embarrassed to say they really don’t know what to do next. We need to do a better job in helping them feel welcome on the days after the Easter Vigil. Yes. :thumbsup:

And, sometimes it is necessary to go to another nearby Catholic parish for a good Bible Study. I can only drive in daytime and found a parish that has the Jeff Cavins Bible Studies in the daytime. So many parishioners are on board with it that if you miss a daytime class there is another one two days after that with another facilitator, and we can sign up for that class and discuss the same lesson.

In my diocese’s website, they offer free Catechist classes. You don’t have to a catechist to take the classes. They have been an amazing source of information for me in the past! Hope this helps, and welcome! :smiley:

I was raised a Protestant. So I was used to a very warm, friendly experience at church. I became Catholic, via RCIA, in the year 1990. Because I was unmarried and had no Catholic friends, I became lonely after RCIA. I had to learn to be a single Catholic, attending mass on my own. It took ever so long, but finally I found good Catholic friends I could discuss my faith with. It was a wonderful feeling. I also remember that the saints are my friends. So I pray to them often, especially to the Blessed Mother. As other people have suggested, try to find small groups to interact with. Also, coming to CAF and talking to other Catholics is a great idea. You can’t see us, be we are here for one another.

Depending on your interests and what is available in your area, you would probably enjoy bible studies and other group offerings. I have participated in bible studies, book groups and rosary groups. The other people in these groups were a lot of fun and very encouraging, it is always fun to participate. Hopefully, you have some offerings for groups that you would enjoy near you either in your parish or one nearby.

Oh, I also forgot to mention daily Mass and Eucharistic adoration. Although I didn’t make friends, I feel such a wonderful, warmth that fills any sort of loneliness I might have. Just to spend half an hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament draws one nearer to our Savior.

I went straight into CRHP after RCIA. It’s called Christ renews his parish, and it starts with a weekend retreat. Do you have that? Our parish and the other nearby have regular bible studies, daily mass, yoga classes, adoration, occasional dinner/speaker nights, and in august or September they have gatherings that showcase all the different parish ministries available, retreats, and mission trips. We also have a Jesuit retreat center nearby that holds silent retreats often.

Yes, daily mass is a great place to meet people. Usually, the Catholics who attend Daily Mass are either the more devout or the ones in the most need. You can learn from the devout and help the ones in need.

I like Bible Study a lot, you really get to know the people and often people chat afterwards for a few minutes.

In many Parish’s it’s often hard to meet people after Mass for a number of different reasons.

In regards to why:
I think the main difference between the fellowship in protestatant churches vs Catholic ones is due to protestant congerations being more homogenius than the typical Catholic Parish. What I mean is that protestants often attend where they feel most at home and attend a church which meets their spirtiual and social needs. If you don’t like the church, you find one you like. So most people who are there will have similar social needs/wants/likes from the church community. They like the music used, will often have similar both politically & economicly, etc. Hence, it will feel more welcoming because most of the people are thinking the same.

Catholics often don’t have that unless they are attending a small community parish or a “Personal Parish” instead of a regular Parish. Most Catholic parishes are filled with people from all different walks of life, different nationalites, economics, etc. Some have different preferences in music, etc. Plus, many Catholic Parishes simply have way more people, which multiple Mass times on Sunday. So human nature often takes place. Therefore, the best way to make friends in Church is to get involved and meet the people interact with. Then, you will meet more people.

Personally, I ran into this when I joined my parish (I moved to a new dioceses) and didn’t know anyone. I started attending a novena when possible and Bible Study… now the people I know from there say hello.

Finally, I like the book called the “Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic.” It talks about how to improve your Parish by getting more people involved and why some people don’t get involved.

Good luck, God Bless and welcome to the Church!

What we’ve done:

During RCIA I give people a list of different groups and ministries in the parish with names and contact info for leaders. These have been carefully vetted so that it includes only those groups who actually welcome new members. (Unfortunately I have run into some groups that are “closed.” They really don’t want new members and I don’t want to steer people toward them and have them be discouraged.)

I encourage (maybe more like require since if they don’t do it I ask about it frequently) them to visit at least one liturgical ministry and one non-liturgical. For the liturgical ministry the idea is to watch what an altar server/lector/extraordinary minister does during Mass and then talk with one of them to learn more about it – what is involved each week, what kind of training or preparation is required, why does the person enjoy being part of this, what do they get from it, etc. It gives the catechumen/candidate an opportunity to meet and talk with another person in the parish and learn about a way they can contribute afterward.

For the non-liturgical group they attend a meeting with the social justice folks, go with the St. Vincent de Paul folks to meet with someone needing their help, prepare a meal with the people who work with the homeless, sit in on a religious education class or youth group meeting, help with coffee and donuts after Mass, etc. The social justice people have been very welcoming of RCIA folks so that they often end up getting involved even while they’re still in RCIA.

After the catechumen or candidate visits one of these groups they report back at our RCIA session about what they learned. Sometimes what they’ve learned is that particular group is not for them, but they are often very enthusiastic. And that, in turn, inspires others to want to learn more.

In each case, when I’ve talked with the leader of the group about whether they would like to have catechumens and candidates come visit, they’ve been very enthusiastic (except for a couple of groups and I just skip them). These are people who love what they do and want to share it with others.

I see many former RCIA folks at Mass and outside of Mass regularly. Off the top of my head, we have people now who are EMHCs, a member of the parish council, religious education assistants, ushers, a sacristan, a youth group assistant, and members of the social justice group. (As well as some who are happy to attend Mass and not have other responsibilities in the parish.)

I was inspired a lot by Jerry Gallipeau who talks about the apprenticeship model in RCIA. You learn by doing.

Thank you. I will be passing this along to the Deacon in charge,
Peace to you, friend!
Clare

Thanks everyone for your suggestions! I’ll take a closer look at my parish calendar. :thumbsup:

Besides looking at your parish calendar, you can do things on your own. I belong to a small group that 7 of us started to discuss spiritual books. We meet once a month (or it can be more often) at a local restaurant for breakfast and discussion. We are currently studying a book from one of Matthew Kelly’s Dynamic Catholic recommendations.

From this has sprung other fellowship activities, such as going to a special Mass, or visiting a Shrine, or going together to hear a talk or teaching by a speaker or priest. We once went to a local Franciscan monastery for a special spiritual direction session on prayer. We have attended some short course Bible studies together and that is also a way to meet new people even from other parishes. We are not all from the same parish, either).

Often, while we are in the restaurant (which graciously allows us to stay as one as we wish) we will see other people we know and they will ask us about what we are doing. Sometimes someone will stop and ask for prayers or want to know more about what we are doing. We will pray together before leaving. God sometimes uses our little group as a witness, and we have yet to experience any negative remarks or hostile stares.

So if you make a little effort, many good fellowship activities can result.

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