Harry's RCIA Retreat

Today all the Candidates and Elects (formerly Catecumans) paid $20 to attend a one day retreat at a local church. The main item was Jesus meeting the Sameritan woman at the well, and the woman believing in Jesus, then telling the whole town about Jesus, and the whole town believing in Jesus. All this in excrutiating detail.

No real change from 50 years ago when us kids for confirmation in the Lutheran Church also had to go through this Bible passage in excrutiating detail. A slight change in English wording from the use of a different translation.

Then again, I guess this retreat was intended mostly for the Elect. At the end, the Elect got an annointing from the Priest. Us Candidates, as a group, got a quicky oral affirmation. Gee, thanks.

But during the lunch break I was able to do a 5-decade Dominican Rosary (Joyful Mysteries), the Divine Mercy Chaplet, AND the Franciscan Crown.

Why do you object to this?

Sounds like your retreat experience left you feeling out in the cold:(.

Our RCIA group had a retreat today and it was much different than the one you participated in.:rolleyes:

Just like with anything else in life, some things make you want to shout from the mountain tops and others, well…:frowning:

Sorry you had a bad experience, but I’m happy that you found time for some quality personal prayer anyhow.

May God continue to bless you on your journey,


I did NOT object to all this. No how, no way. I was mearly reporting it. I was required to attend so I could be confirmed at the Easter Vigil. As has been the norm during my RCIA program, I learned nothing new during the 6 hour retreat, but that does NOT mean I objected to it. No way, no how.

OK, I would have preferred something better then the boxed lunch provided.

Oh, I see.

Really, they need to seperate catechumans from candidates.

That is what the United States Council of Bishops has wanted for many years. Rarely happens. Most RCIA programs are badly understaffed, and in general are oriented to the mostly ignorant Catecumans. There is little in the way of help for Candidates with knowledge of the Scriptures and the Catechism, who may have been living a Christian life for many years.

In short, I am required to audit RCIA just to be confirmed at the Easter Vigil, even if RCIA is otherwise of no help or use to me:(

Oh, here is a link you might find interesting, about how the already-baptized were supposed to be treated…


every year of course I consider these same Lenten gospels (cycle A is used for RCIA) at least 3 times with the adult, children and youth RCIA groups. I never fail to appreciate some new insight or understanding, either while listening to the reading itself, or to the speaker or homilist, or even while preparing the lesson from printed resources, or faith sharing. This particular gospel of today (woman at the well) has a particular personal significance so it is always especially meaningful, as are the prayers during the scrutinies which refer to these readings.

Of course each week I also spend at least 3 CCD sessions with the lectionary readings of the week (Cycle C this year) and they also never get old, never get trite. I am still in awe at what the kids and catechists (and HS aides) in our elementary Lent retreat came up with in their faith sharing with the fig tree gospel (a notoriously difficult gospel to discuss with children). An entirely new vision of a gospel I have heard at least 50 times before.

I totally understand your frustration! I am having the same problem! I will have been in the RCIA process for 18 months (counting Inquiry) when I am received into the Church. During our class time, I am talked to as if I am not a Christian and as if I am about to embark on living this Christian life of which I know nothing about. RCIA is totally geared for the catechumens, not taking into consideration the adult, religiously educated candidates. In my RCIA, the candidates are required to take part in the Scrutinies not just be there praying together with all the other baptized.

What bothers me is the fact that it seems that the RCIA team doesn’t feel the need to follow the guidelines layed out by the Bishops (back of the RCIA manual) who have thought this through and prayed about it. Maybe the Bishops give each parish the authority to do what they wish with the candidates. I really don’t know but answers would be helpful.

What did anyone learn from you? (this is a real question) What was your goal at the retreat?

What did anyone learn from me? Patience, obediance, etc.

Maybe they also learned that I was baptised Church of England in 1944, confirmed in the Lutheran Church as a teenager, have continued studies, and lived as a Christian (more or less). That the US Bishops have stated that Candidates like me should not be required to undergo the full RCIA process along with the Catecumans/Elects. That I could have and should have been confirmed long ago at any Sunday Mass outside the Easter Vigil

My goal? Do whatever I am told by my RCIA instructors. Do not rock the boat. Go with the flow. Ask no questions. Smile smile smile. That way, I can get confirmed at the Easter Vigil. I may have to undergo a “conditional baptism” anyhow. Smile smile smile. When the RCIA instructors teach something in contradiction to the Catechism, say nothing. Smile smile smile.

This is good. Something good happened. I guess I’m a perpetual optimist about things like this, but I was hoping you could see it too, and be cheered.:slight_smile:

Last time I was at one of these, someone learned (from me and another person) the Church teaching on contraception (and they were surprised). Our retreats for RCIA involve small group discussion, so it is easy for stuff like this to happen. For this person, I think God arranged it.

My goal? Do whatever I am told by my RCIA instructors. Do not rock the boat.

There are two levels (at least) of goals. There is why you are stuck there, and there is your goal for yourself as long as you are stuck there. In my foolish optimistic way, I was asking if maybe it was a success on that score.

Let me share something. The other day, I was suffering a pain in my foot. I rarely feel grateful for such a thing, but the other day I had a success. I actually felt grateful. There was a person I desperately wanted to help, but I had nothing to give but prayer. I suddenly turned to God and offered the pain in my foot. I was so grateful I had something to offer for this person. Then, I was so amazed that God gave me gratitude for something like that.

Perhaps at the retreat you had a spiritual success? I was hoping that could be the case. If I am not at a place for myself, I hope I remember to make it be for others. But, in the end, being somewhere for others always turns out to be also for me, in a strange way. I’m not good at talking about this type of spiritual thing, but your post seemed like you needed encouragement this way. Maybe another poster can see what I’m trying to say and say it right.

Anyway, this RCIA thing will end. You’ll make it.:thumbsup:

Indeed. Did you see my posting in the Spirituality Forum about meeting Cardinal Mahoney?

Well, I have now.:smiley: I still remember the time I met our bishop on Holy Thursday at the chrism mass.


A few years ago, I was in your shoes. Been a practicing, baptized Presbyterian all my life, lived the Christian life as devoutly as I could. Study of Christian history and prayer leads me to Rome through an RCIA process that was “Christianity 101”. What did I learn?

  1. Obedience to God by obeying the authorities He placed over me.

  2. Humility. Maybe I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was. And I had a lot to learn about “Catholic life” (what ordinary Catholics do in their daily lives and interactions).

  3. God’s timing is perfect. I realized some time later that God kept me in the “premie incubator” of this RCIA class for a reason. It gave me time to reduce my level of pride. Also, it allowed me to shed some of the resentment and anger I was feeling about having been mislead away from the great truths of Catholicism for 40+ years of my life. I’ll admit I was a little angry with God that I couldn’t have known about His Church sooner, and that I had wasted a lot of my life.

  4. Finally, there were people I “needed” to meet in RCIA, whose timing was chosen by God to coincide with my own.

God is amazing in the way he knits together the little details of our lives. Surrender to the process. In a year or two, you may look back on this painful time and see what God was doing in your life, and realize there was nothing more perfect that could have been done.

You are in my prayers. Savor the remaining moments of Lent, and prepare for a close encounter with the Lord this Easter. May you be richly blessed! :gopray2:

Andruschak, I feel for you pal. At first I had the same attitude for a little while (while I was waiting for RCIA to begin). And on this web site somebody gave me excellent advice.

Obedience is a big thing. We need to learn obedience (and I fail some way every day so pray for me too).

We need to learn to be obedient to the Church. I know in writing it says we didn’t need RCIA if we were already Baptized. And I was confirmed as a Methodist (although we learned different things about Martin Luther than what is ordinarily taught Catholic youth in their confirmation classes). But I found RCIA helpful to me (and in some ways I’m not done yet even two years later).

There are several kinds of obedience.

There is a reluctant obedience.
There is an obedience that carries a grudge the whole while.
And there is a cheerful obedience.
And of course there is disobedience.

Moses led the Hebrew children in the wilderness for 40 years. And so much of this was all about obedience – learning to obey God’s commands. Many were obedient without being cheerful. Many failed once in a while.

God loves a cheerful giver, and I suppose He also loves those who obey cheerfully.

Even before RCIA began, I accepted that I would go through it. I learned some and I received grace and affection from others. In some ways I wish I could still go to some “formation” meetings – I have not yet received Confirmation or First Communion. But I have the Rosary and pray the Rosary (every day for a bit over a year now).

I’m surprised that after all this time you still have the attitude that you do.

I am also familiar with Jesus’s parables from my youth. The first time I heard the Prodigal Son in the Catholic Church, I nearly lost it – I was so near crying the whole time. I never before saw myself as the Prodigal Son. I had previously seen myself as the son who stayed on the farm. With the different perspective, I saw so much more love in the story. It was more than I could envision and more than I could accept or handle.

And recently, I have a new perspective on the Good Samaritan. I saw myself as the one traveling on the road from Jerusalem (with my back towards God). Falling victim to sin and the results of sin. Being robbed and beaten. After my first wife left me to go with somebody on the Internet (12 years ago) a Catholic Priest told me three things – (a) I wasn’t far from becoming a Catholic (b) he didn’t have much time to talk with me because the parish is large and not enough priests © I could remarry. I was glad to hear ©, but I did not consider myself Catholic. I went to see him because I was hurting very bad. There were perhaps a few others who did not help. And then there was my current wife (who is Black and very dark skinned) as the good Samaritan who picked me up when I was really down. I was out of work, often heavily drinking each night and sometimes nearly suicidal. Just as the hated Samaritans were excluded from the Jewish religion because of their race, my wife is more comfortable attending a predominantly Black Church. I sing in the Catholic Choir on Saturday night and then attend First Baptist with my wife and family each Sunday. Before getting married, we agreed that going to Church as a family was imporant to us both and I consider it to be a vow as solemn as my marriage vow. Less than 150 years ago, most Black Churches in this area began because Whites didn’t want Blacks coming to their churches. I wonder that in America if Blacks are like the Samaritans in Jesus’s day and what does Jesus think?

Jesus did go to the well and ask water from a woman who had been married and re-married. And at that time any good Pharisee would have considered themselves ceremonially unclean if only they somehow touched or stepped on the shadow of a Samaritan.

So tell me you learned nothing about the woman at the well.

I cannot leave Catholic teaching. I love attending Mass and praying the Rosary. Yet I find myself asking a new question – would it have been alright if the travelling victim (beaten and robbed) had decided to become a Samaritan? In his story, who was the good neighbor? Who acted the way Jesus taught us to act?

Only now, I am starting to see more and more value in Jesus’s parables – two years after finishing RCIA. I am still learning.

And note, I have seen some web sites where it is recommended that in some cases it may take more than a year before somebody receives confirmation or Holy Communion. Frankly, I suppose that this is more likely to be true and helpful than being a faster track.

By the way, the Samaritan Religion was outwardly very similar in appearance to the Jewish Religion. Some years ago, the Scientific American had an article about the Samaritan Religion (there were still some practicing Samaritans in a Palestinian area of Israel).

At my second RCIA meeting, I found out my group leaders were mixed up between Our Lady of Lourdes and Our Lady of Fatima.

And they never showed too much interest in praying the Rosary at all.

We are all different in many ways. Dwell on the good in other people instead of dwelling on the bad.

When you judge other people for their faults, remember that we must also appear before a judge someday for our own faults. So go easy on others.

John 16:7-11 (Jesus Speaking) “But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes he will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation: sin, because they do not believe in me; righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.”

It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict people of sin. Not our job. Be careful or you may find yourself being the one who looks at a speck in your brother’s eye while having a beam in your own eye.

Note that in this matter I am trying to be humble. I like you Andruschak and I recognize you as a brother and as a fellow client of Mary whom we both love. Both of us have received that very valuable grace somehow – it is not of ourselves. In fact, in general I look up to you. I suppose you are past having alcoholic relapses. And you will soon receive Holy Communion. I suppose you pray more than me. So yes, in many ways I look up to you.

So I hope that you will re-consider the value of your RCIA experience.

Your priests are very wise to give you conditional baptism (they don’t do that here although it is probably a good idea). For example, when I was in college I was shocked to hear a Methodist minister admit to me in private that they doubted and did not believe that Jesus rose again from the dead. So it is perhaps likely that that minister’s water baptisms may have lacked something – while having outward appearance of being OK.

Be thankful for what you have instead of dwelling on the things you do not have. If you have the habit of dwelling on the things you do not have (and if this makes you unhappy), then even when you get what you desire you may still be unhappy. You will find something else that you do not have and then dwell on it. We each can have mental habits that are sinful or harmful, in addition to having physically visible habits.

Remember this, the others that appear to be running RCIA are not in control of everything. God is in control. Mary is over the Church. And I think they know what is going on and they are doing excellent work.


Perhaps it is possible that God knows what He’s doing and has a plan for you that is somehow (and not yet revealed) connected with RCIA or the people there or even one person there.

“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD” Jeremiah 29: 11

Sometimes we are so busy looking ahead to what’s next we miss what God has laid out just under us.

I am truly sorry that this has not been a wonderful experience for you, but perhaps something special will happen within the next 21 days. :thumbsup:

That is great! I would assume that the priest anointed the Elect with the Oil of Catechumens? If they have not already been. This is sometimes omitted in the RCIA, it is of course always used in the Rite of Infant Baptism. But during Adult Baptism it is usually omitted since they will be always Confirmed right after Baptism with Sacred Chrism.

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