Jan 8, 2009

organi[zation|sm]


Another regular-expression post title. This blog might also accidentally teach readers computer programming! hah!

I realized today that I've written some about my spiritual/emotional/whatever experiences, but haven't really mentioned some of the ordinary organizational stuff. Maybe today I'm just feeling guilty because I haven't actually been to an RCIA class for 4 weeks, though 3 of those weeks were simply because there weren't classes. Still, I pretty much skipped a class this last week without a very good reason. :(

Anyway, to join the Catholic Church in an official sense, adults typically go thru RCIA - Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. It's a series of weekly classes and some "extra-curricular" events for catechumens (un-baptized) and candidates (baptized Christians) to learn and experience the Christian - specifically Roman Catholic - faith. It's also possible (though I'm not sure how common it is) for a person to receive personal, individual catechism.

My official journey started Thursday, Nov 6th, when I met with Father Joe from Saint Benedict, and signed my paperwork to join the RCIA course there. Fr. Joe and Peggy, the RCIA coordinator, had told me that Saturday was going to be the official Rite of Welcome which would "seal-the-deal" for people seeking to enter full communion with the Catholic Church.

I remember standing in Peggy's office still feeling a little trepidation about it, but I knew this was where God was telling me to go and that making it official was one of those outward signs I had to make. So I signed on the dotted line, asked my sister-in-law Laura to sponsor me thru it all, and prepared for the Saturday retreat, which was awesome. I started going to the RCIA classes that next Tuesday.

My RCIA classes are every Tuesday night, from 7pm to 9pm. The format is generally opening prayer, then a review of Sunday's liturgy, small-group discussion of the review, then a lesson on a Catholic doctrine or topic, then a closing prayer service in the church sanctuary - my favorite part.

In addition to the Tuesday night classes, the RCIA candidates and catechumens are dismissed from Sunday liturgy after the Scripture readings and homily. We go to the chapel to discuss what was presented. Sometimes there's great provocative or profound conversation in there - right up there with Agora. Other times there's only a shallow interest and sparse discussion - which sometimes happens at Agora too. ;)

Another official/organizational aspect of the Church is Holy Days (holidays) - especially of the "obligatory" type. From the outside I thought of it as a way to guilt people into coming to church more often. From the inside, every single Holy Day Mass has really helped me appreciate the depth of the sacred mysteries. Just to spend that extra hour contemplating the Communion of Saints, or the Immaculate Conception ... really strikes home the wonder of God's interaction with us.

I think that's about as much of the organizational aspect of catechism that I've encountered so far. Each official event shows me more and more the overlap between the organizational and the mystical elements of the Church and of our Faith.

2 comments:

Kristi said...

My cousin married a catholic, and converted before their wedding. She went through classes, and came out a more knowledgable Catholic than her own husband. She understood what they believe and why. I think we should all question our faith periodically and re-establish our values and our beliefs.

luke said...

Yeah, the thing is I read a bunch of Catholic material before the classes even, so most of the teachings aren't totally new to me. But the depth of it is amazing and probably one of the things that appeals so strongly to me.