It sounds like the program at your parish is liturgically-based? That is, you cover the next Sunday’s readings at each week’s class?
My parish has a program like this, and this is my first year teaching. Before I gave my first scripture reflection, one of our priests offered to assist me as I was a bit nervous about it, and he pointed out a few things which I’ve seen expressed on these boards:
- A lot of people say that there should be more catechesis.
Agreed, but at the same time, this is a diverse group of people at different levels, and as the priest I spoke with said, it’s been proven that if someone comes in and drops a catechism on their heads, they never come back.
RCIA is supposed to be a journey, a general overview of our beliefs with assistance into a fuller understanding through introduction to resources, etc. They aren’t going to graduate and become immediate theologians.
Just as an example…on my first day “teaching”, I was prayer leader, and I just started the class with the “Our Father”. They had me print out a handout wiht the prayer on it, and I honestly wondered why…doesn’t everyone know the Lord’s Prayer?
Apparently not. One girl came in a little late so didn’t get a handout, and when I had finished my portion of the night she asked me for one…because she didn’t know the prayer.
If I had gone up there and started quoting the catechism and got into deep theological topics, she would not have asked for the handout…she would have just felt stupid, that the class would be too hard, and she would have left.
Sadly, some of the sponsers need catechesis, too, so it’s good they’re there. I try to link my reflection with the topic of the day, if possible, and at the small group session part, I try to encourage questions and give good solid answers. Last week I was able to expand on the catechesis for the day and explained a few things that weren’t included. It was really cool, but it was conversational in nature.
In the early years of the church, the catechumans were expected to study for about 3 years before being baptized, I think. I’m quite sure if w required that, we wouldn’ t have many converts.
If your group, though, has very little actual catechesis, talk to your pastor, because they at least need an understanding about what they are agreeing to. Otherwise, just do what you can, try to meet people where they are, and one lesson I’ve already learned…assume nothing. Some people don’t even know the basic prayers, because they have never been taught.