[quote=Br. Rich SFO]Paragraph #10 of the Rite says that a Sponsor accompanies the Inquirer through Inquiry. The Sponsor should be assigned well before the Rite of Acceptance or Welcome.
I’m hesitant to write this post in fear that it might be percieved as an argument w/ Brother Rich who I respect greatly. However, I’m very sure that our diocese does this correct as our former Bishop is very diligent about being correct. I’m sure that the difference between Brother Rich’s experience and the one in my diocese is related to flexibility that is given to individual Bishop’s within the scope of each Bishop’s responsibility for evangelization and catechisis within their respective diocese.
Anyway, we have a period that we call “Period of Evangelization” where we cover Salvation History and certain Truths that are generally universal among Christians like Creation, and the Trinity, plus Church Authority and the four Marks (One, Holy, Universal (Catholic), Apostolic).
If the “Precatechuman” wants to go further with the the Process, we include them in the Rite of Welcome and the Inquiry begins and at that time a Sponsor is assigned. At one time, our Pastor assigned Sponsors (he personally recruits the Sponsors prior to the first class but they just attend as “parishioners interested in RCIA”) at the beginning but he has discovered that it works better during Inquiry and after Confirmation if there is some allowance for personal relationships to form.
Additionally, despite the comment that one should be able to join the RCIA process any time during the year is technically correct in that our Pastor allows people to join whenever they want.
However, except in certain cases where circumstances require a accelerated program (probably the only one he would accept is impending death or health reasons but I don’t know for sure as it hasn’t come up to my knowledge), he requires people to be enrolled prior to the Rite of Welcome and finish the classes thru Easter Vigil (we also require them to come to four classes after Confirmation to round out their learning and to talk about Mystigogia (sp?)) when they are confirmed. My Pastor feels strongly that the process is more than educational (that can probably be done by the individual w/ limited spiritual direction) and includes going thru the process within community. Our Bishop does not regularly give permission for Confirmation to be done by a Priest except for Easter Vigil.
RCIA is primarily logistically coordinated by lay volunteers with the teaching primarily done by our Pastor (we have no Associate) or (mostly retired) Priests covering certain areas where they have a particular charism (i.e. Sacrament of Marriage is done by our diocese’s Marriage expert and Tribunal Member).
Because of my Pastor’s requirement of going thru RCIA within a community that includes other Candidates/Catechumens and confirmed Catholic parishioners and limited resources of our Parish, classes begin in mid-September and are three of four Sunday evenings a month thru Easter Vigil and Mystogogia goes thru Pentecost. For those who express interest in RCIA outside of this schedule, Father recommends that they begin reading “Catholic and Christian” by Schreck, attend Mass weekly, and attend our periodic Adult Education classes conducted at our Parish until they can enroll in the scheduled RCIA program.
Regarding the request for a web site, I refer you to the UCCB’s website: usccb.org/comm/rcia/faq.shtml