Adult Sacrament Preparation Experiments
At my parish I'm beginning one experiment with the RCIA. We already two main classes set up: one main group in Spetember made up of both Catechumens and Candidates, and one January group of just Candidates.
My first effort at creating a new, modified form of bringing in those who are already baptized (and well-catechized) is called Inclusion. My goal with Inclusion is to shorten and intensify the process.
Things that are Different (Hopefully Better!)
First, in honoring their baptism, we are removing them from the standard RCIA dismissal during Mass. They will stay with the family and friends and offer the Eucharistic sacrifice with everyone else in the church, though they cannot receive Communion. The goal here is to aggressively catechize them liturgically with the importance of full, conscious and active participation in the Mass, and hopefully to raise awareness in the minds of the Catholics in the pews about their sacramental dignity and duty.
Second, we are going to focus as much on community formation as we do on instruction. "Community Excursions" is my term for intentional trips to experience the parish life of Catholics. We will attend the Lenten parish mission together, go to Easter Vigil Mass, visit the Co-Cathedral downtown, eat a few family meals together, and more. The idea is Catholics in community form wannabe Catholics to our community.
Third, the classroom model has changed. We are implementing a small group model to increase discussion and personal participation, and limiting the number to 10 per group. Right now I don't think that is an issue with us, but going foward I can imagine multiple Inclusion groups going at once, led by trained facilitators and meeting in people's homes.
Fourth, the instruction itself is limited in length to promote questioning and discussion. The seeker small group model helps us to encourage self-discovery and self-knowledge. This puts the onus of participation back on the person and limits the ability to hide, coast, or rely on "good enough" attendance. And the content of the instruction? Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. This is a personal discipleship group, not a class.
Fifth, it's 12 Tuesday nights, plus personal reading, prayer, and the Community Excursions to get to the Profession of Faith, Confirmation and First Holy Communion for these people. We strip it down in order to build them up. Each phase of the process is intended to push and chellenge each person into following Jesus wholly.
My aim is to cut the clutter and tailor it specifically for well-catechized candidates who want Jesus and His Church. The hope is that more fence-sitters will see this and it will appeal to them because it is stripped of hoop-jumping that the full on RCIA process can appear to be.
Here's to dreaming!