This past week, I found out a friend, who I know through local social media and blogging activities, was completing the RCIA process this Easter. This reminded me of a new Catholic Update published last month, Ten Tips for Welcoming New Catholics: The Role of the Community in the RCIA by Msgr. Richard Hilgartner that opens:
“Every year, in parishes across the country and throughout the world, candidates for the sacraments of initiation (baptism, confirmation and Eucharist) prepare to become members of the Catholic Church. Their process of conversion, discernment, preparation and formation is guided by the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).”
She posted her invitation to the “Rite of Calling the Candidates to Continuing Conversion” which was to be held at her diocese’s cathedral. In the midst of my liking her post and expressing written congratulations, I wondered, what could I do to make her feel welcomed? A hearty like and comment at Facebook were surely inadequate.
“Those discerning and preparing to enter the Church depend on the support and encouragement of the whole Church, not only to welcome them, but also to join with them in following Christ. At the same time, they enrich the Church by their example of openness to God’s grace and the promptings of the Holy Spirit as they respond to the invitation of Jesus.”
According to Msgr. Hilgarter, I have responsibilities as a member of the Catholic community to pray for her and welcome her. But I am struck by the fact that her process calls me to conversion as well. During this time of Lent, I pray that God would open my heart to changes especially in my calling as a Catholic Christian.
Do you know any RCIA candidates? What is your parish doing to welcome them further into the Church?