Making "New Evangelism" easier

I was hoping to get some other opinions on some concerns I have. My wife and I are life long protestants that will be coming into the Church at the Easter Vigil. We have been meeting with a Religious Sister once a week starting last May and then joining the other catechumens and candidates last Sept. or October.

As long time Christians, we feel that the classes while at times interesting, were for the most part re-hashing information that we have known for years. i.e. Fall of Man, Trinity, etc.

We have a lot of questions regarding the Catholic practices that differ from our experience in protestant churches. As RCIA winds down with the Easter Vigil approaching, I can’t see that a lot of these questions will get answered.

I have friends that I am praying will enter the Catholic church in the future. However, I can’t see them taking 7-8 months of classes and “jumping through all the hoops” so to speak.

I want to make it clear that while I wish our RCIA experience had been different, I would do anything to enter into the one true church that Jesus established. I just don’t believe that many would make that commitment.

Also I have read that every effort should be made NOT to bring candidates into the church at the Easter Vigil. The Easter Vigil is for catechumens who are now called the Elect. At our parish the Elect and candidates will be brought in in one mass.

I would like some input as to how the New Evangelism call from Pope Francis can better accommodate protestants crossing the Tiber. Perhaps shorter catechist, separate from those new to the faith, that focuses more on Catholic traditions and practices. And is this how it is done in other dioceses?

Thank you

If this is not the correct forum for this discussion, I apologize.

All I can say is that I am grateful for the priest who made the time for one-on-one meetings with me and then brought me into Holy Mother Church on an inconspicuous Sunday.

The priest shortage doesn’t help. RCIA is also a one-size-fits-all program, which means it doesn’t actually fit a lot of people. Sometimes it only fits the instructor. (on the other hand, it can be done well. Be thankful you’re getting orthodox teaching at the very least!)

I would like to see more of a move to case-by-case instruction that happens throughout the year. But I don’t know how it can happen or how resources could be properly allocated to do so.

In the meantime, you might try internet resources. I like to recommend Being Catholic for information on traditional practices of the faith.

I think because there are thousands of Christian denominations it’s impossible to know exactly what has been taught in union with the Church and what’s wrong for each of them, so they go over everything just to make sure.

Hi, I was a convert from an Evangelical Protestant church.
What I have found useful is to distinguish between CONVERSION
and formal RECEPTION into the Catholic Church. It is CRITICAL
for us to save as many souls that come across our paths as poss-
ible! But you don’t need to be in a Church organization to do that!
So, tell others the gospel, pray, fast, do alms-giving and let your light
shine. But don’t worry about them having a hard time coming into
the Church!

Every process is weak and unfortunately RCIA can be very weak as well. I think I understand what was trying to be done with RCIA in the sense of “getting back to what the early Christians did,” but I would just like to point out that the situation of the early Christians was radically different than the situation of people today in the West. There might be an element of romanticization of what the early Christians did.

I think people’s spiritual and material needs remain the same throughout history, but it is difficult to take a group of extremely heterogenous people from a city/town/whatever, put them in a group together, and then put them through the factory line so to speak, because there will necessarily be huge differences between people. RCIA is a one-size-fits-all approach, and these often don’t work well. Unfortunately, there are often not enough resources to do otherwise.

My hope is that people such as you and your wife who are educated in the basics of Christianity and who see the big picture here will be able to just suck it up and stick it out, if you know what I mean. That is to say, well, yeah, it might be boring or whatever, but I think it is better to bring it down to the lower level for the many people who are there than put it at a very high level for the very few who are there, at least at first. That doesn’t mean that you can’t talk about difficult or rather arcane topics like indulgences–imho indulgences are one of the most difficult “entry-level” Catholic topics to understand–just that it may be a bit slower paced.

Ideally candidates are given the instruction that they need, which its often not the basics of the Trinity, who Jesus is, etc. In my experience, candidates often have questions about Mary, papal authority, sacraments, the precepts of the Church, etc. Ideally the RCIA process should include these types of subjects as well. The good news its that you will have the whole rest of your life to continue learning about them.

Amen to that. Part of me wishes it had happened 20 years ago. But all in God’s timing, right?

That is a good point. I hadn’t considered that before.

Thanks for the link. Extremely helpful and I am thankful that I found Catholic Answers!

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