Friday, April 18, 2008

Call To Conversion

Approximately 10 years ago the United States Bishops mandated that this new way to bringing adults and children older than 4 into the church be implemented in all United States parishes. The RCIA label was assigned when they passed this mandate. In 2000, the Bishops decided to re-evaluate again. They found that RCIA process was working in some places but nonexistent in others. They felt it was important for the congregation to participate in the process and just as important as the person that was coming into the church. What is most interesting about this is the bishops so much believed in this process that they said even though there were some parishes without a process in place, they said that they were not going change the process because it was that important.

The bishops strongly believed that this process can renew parish life. RCIA is a journey and is often within the groups are referred to as one. It is also a journey of conversion for the parish as well. The parish is involved in the process now and they should be welcoming these candidates and catechumens/elect into the church. The congregation participates in the rights of ignition that the candidates and catechumens walk though.

If the RCIA program is run well it can be a great experience for the whole parish as they watch and help walk with the new converts on their journey. They help as sponsors. They also may be asked to pray for them. And if asked they may be faced with questions from them. They may be asked to share their faith in witnessing about it. The support the parish offers to their coverts is very similar to the early church and in part why the bishops want to stick with this process. As the congregation walks with the converts they are also renewing their own faith and reinforcing their own conversion.

The conversion to Jesus Christ is a lifelong process and the RCIA is a wonderful reminder to all members of the parish. It gives opportunity to reflect on the vows made in Baptism and renew those promises. This recommits each member of the congregation to Jesus and makes each one a far better witness to Christ.s teachings.


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