Need suggestions for how to conduct Inquiry Sessions!

I am a member of a rural parish where they have never had a formal RCIA in the history of their existence. I suggested to our new priest that we should be providing this awesome process (since I went through it about 10 years ago), and soon found that I am now the RCIA Coordinator…

I am up for the challenge and attended a NAFORUM Institute earlier this summer, but I am really getting nervous about starting the Iquiry Classes.

For all you experienced RCIA Team members, can you give me suggestions on these sessions? I am looking for any type of resource that actually gives you outlines or info on how to conduct the sessions, if it exists! Help!!

Have you looked into the resources by the Association for Catechumenal Ministries?

acmrcia.org/index2.html

As for the period of Inquiry, some individuals may take some time to be ready to join a group. Or you might offer a couple of unstructured evenings, just to answer questions and build relationships.

Thank you for saying yes!

Thanks…and YES I had our parish secretary order the book! They have not come in yet and I am hoping that they will have what I am looking for. Just getting a lilttle nervous about the enormous responsibility of the process.

One good thing…even if I mess up, no one will know because we have never had RCIA before!

I know that throughout the Inquiry process we are to focus more on developing the Inquirer’s faith/spiritual life and less on instruction, but I don’t want people to feel as though we are avoiding answering questions. Any suggestions?

Also, I do want to at the very least give a general overview of the Church …do you think this is appropriate and what topics should I hit??

Thanks for ANY suggestions at all!!!

I am involved in RCIA in small town parish. Some of the “official” stuff from the books on RCIA don’t work or are not feasable in small town rural America. One has to use some judgement and discernment. The rituals, prayers that take place in front of the congregation as they bring all the parish members into the process.

A book by Father Michael Clay titled A Harvest for God is a good start. ISBN 1-56-854367-0. Its available from Amazon. For a good overview of the Faith I would recommend Catholicism for Dummies by Fathers Trigilio and Brighenti also available from Amazon. ISBN 0-7645-5391-7. You might get one for yourself as well as a Cathechism of the Catholic Church for a reference. You can use bibles for the Breaking Open of the Word following dismissal from Mass. Fr. Clay’s book is written in narrative style and is easy to understand as he walks you through some fictional examples of the various steps in the process.

Depending on circumstance you may find that having Cathecumens and Candidates staying for the whole Mass is more workable than dismissal after the Prayers of the Faithful. Obviously they remain in their pew at communion time, but Father dismisses them just after the last blessing and the closing hymn. I have not led the program, but have been one of the instructors for about 15 years or so. Feel free to e-mail me if you have questions. Richard

Before every planning session and every meeting, pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance, and remind Him (and yourself) - this is Your process, Holy Spirit - make me a window of your grace, and not an obstacle."

One good thing…even if I mess up, no one will know because we have never had RCIA before!

:slight_smile:

I know that throughout the Inquiry process we are to focus more on developing the Inquirer’s faith/spiritual life and less on instruction, but I don’t want people to feel as though we are avoiding answering questions. Any suggestions?

Yes - let them ask questions, and guide them to resources. Asking questions is part of the process of faith formation. Everyone will be at a different level, so if someone seems to be “stuck” on a particular issue, make sure they have enough books and CDs to keep them busy “off-line” so that you have time to focus on everyone else during the meetings - don’t let any one person’s issues dominate a meeting, if the others aren’t interested.

Also, I do want to at the very least give a general overview of the Church …do you think this is appropriate and what topics should I hit??

Do a tour of the Church, and as you are walking around, talk about the various issues that come up - for example, why is the Baptismal font near a door? Why are there holy water fonts next to all the doors? The answers to these questions will lead you into a discussion of the Sacraments of Initiation. :slight_smile:

As you are going through, also show them where the Tabernacle is, and explain to them that we always genuflect towards the Tabernacle as we enter and leave the Church.

Everything you encounter in the Church as you are walking through it will remind you of something else to talk about - you will not run out of ideas, and by the end of it, the Inquirers will know more about being Catholic than probaby half of your parishioners. :slight_smile:

ACM is fantastic!!

:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

The second thing I’d suggest is the Compenduim to the Catechism.

If I were going solo in a rural parish the things I would use most 1) “This is Our Faith” original copy (red) from the 1980’s epinions.com/review/This_Is_Our_Faith_A_Catholic_Catechism_for_Adults_by_Michael_Francis_Pennock/content_70146231940 2) Missal, and 3) either a video or publication on the order of the mass. There are many of these. We use the missal. Students always want to know the order of mass and feel much better after they know what comes next.

Remember you’re only to assist them. RCIA is a good start but a start is all, there is much more than 30-40 classes. Do not attempt to be an expert teacher of all things catholic. They could and can find much more online. Just teach the basics. Show the catechism, and canon law, admit when you do not know an answer. Ultimately they control their own destiny, they always did.

Using ACM - this is the schedule our Parish has:

Sept 5
Introduction

Sept 12
God I

Sept 19
God II

Sept 26
The Mass

Oct 3
Prayer I

Oct 10
Revelation (Scripture/Tradition)

Oct 17
Virtues I

Oct 24
The Church

Oct 31
Baptism / Confirmation

Nov 7
Confession

Nov 14
Eucharist

Nov 21
No Class

Nov 28
Anointing of the Sick/Suffering

Dec 5
Marriage

Dec 12
Holy Orders

Dec 19 and Dec 26
No Class

Jan 2
Church History

Jan 9
Commandments 1-3

Jan 16
Commandments 4-10

Jan 23
Mary/Saints

Jan 30
Heaven/Hell/Purgatory

Feb 6
Ash Wednesday

Feb 13
Social Justice

Feb 20
Moral Life

Feb 27
Virtues II

Mar 5
Prayer II

Mar 12
Lay Involvement

Mar 19
Practice for Vigil

Do a tour of the Church, and as you are walking around, talk about the various issues that come up - for example, why is the Baptismal font near a door? Why are there holy water fonts next to all the doors? The answers to these questions will lead you into a discussion of the Sacraments of Initiation. :slight_smile:

As you are going through, also show them where the Tabernacle is, and explain to them that we always genuflect towards the Tabernacle as we enter and leave the Church.

Everything you encounter in the Church as you are walking through it will remind you of something else to talk about - you will not run out of ideas, and by the end of it, the Inquirers will know more about being Catholic than probaby half of your parishioners. :slight_smile:

I would recommend that because I think that was the only thing lacking in my RCIA. Knowing the practical side of things will make mass less daunting for the inquirers

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