Monday, 9 April 2018

Initiation During the "Slow Days of Summer"


This article originally appeared in Celebrate! The Journal That Makes Liturgy Come Alive!  The last issue of Celebrate! was published in 2012. 

On May 20th we will celebrate the feast of Pentecost marking the end of the Easter season. In many parishes Pentecost marks a change in the parish calendar.  There are fewer meetings and some of the regular groups tend to “take a break for the summer”.  In our country it is common for parish life to move into a slower rhythm as the school year ends and families look to weekends away. Although the onset of nicer weather and summer schedules changes the rhythm of our parishes it need not lead to a lack of activity for the initiation team.  The ‘slower days of summer’ can be a time of renewal, formation and activity.

Renewal

The 90 days of Lent and Easter are busy and intense for those preparing to celebrate initiation, sponsors and the leaders of the initiation process.  The weeks shortly after Pentecost are an ideal time to gather the leaders for a day of reflection and prayer. 

Whenever possible gathering away from the parish is helpful for it allows for a different experience and reduces the opportunity for interruptions.  The day of reflection is a time of nourishment for the leaders. The agenda would not provide time to address practical issues nor to plan.  When designing the day it is important to include sufficient time for a short reflection by a facilitator, silence and shared prayer.  Each of these elements fosters a time of renewal. Some parishes may be able to join with one or two other parishes and share the cost of a facility and facilitator.

For many, this yearly gathering has become an essential component of formation for initiation leaders.  The pastoral staff and finance committee recognize the importance of renewal and budget accordingly.

Formation

As we enter into the long period of Ordinary Time it is particularly helpful to gather the pastoral staff and the initiation leaders to reflect on the liturgies of Lent and the celebration of the initiation sacraments.  For example, taking time to reflect on the rites that began the period of Lent as well as the Scrutinies and Presentations will allow for discussion that may lead to changes for next Lent.

This reflection can begin by recalling the experience, noting the ritual actions or activity that fostered participation and naming anything that inhibited participation of all.  A review of the ritual text including the pastoral notes and rubrics will allow you to name any aspects of the rite that needs to be celebrated in a stronger way.  A review of the rite may lead to new information and understanding of the three Scrutinies and the Presentations of the Creed and Lord’s Prayer.

For example, a parish team may realize that the intercessions for the Scrutinies “may be adapted to fit various circumstances” (RCIA, 140).  The intercessions may be written after the preparation for the scrutiny has been completed so that the particular needs of the local community are included. A thorough reading of the pastoral notes may lead to a decision to include the Presentations of the Creed and Lord’s Prayer during the extended period of the Catehcumenate. (RCIA, 134).  The reasons for anticipating the Presentations may be linked to the length of the catechumenate and the needs of the catechumens.  This decision would be revisited each year for the needs of the catechumen must be considered. 

Adopting this practice of reflection and reading the rite may be applied to all periods and rites of the initiation process.  Taking time to review the pastoral notes for the Period of Evangelization and Precatechumenate and the Rite of Acceptance may lead to implementing pastoral practices that more clearly reflect the vision of the rite.

It has been my experience that even after years of working with the ritual text, the pastoral notes and the rubrics still have something to offer a seasoned initiation leader.  The slower days of summer provide some breathing space and an opportunity for the leaders to further their own understanding of the rite.  During this long period of Ordinary Time there may be opportunities to travel and take a course or attend a conference or gathering focused on initiation.  Members of the parish initiation team are more likely to stay involved when they are able to continue to grow in their own understanding of this ministry.

Activity

In a parish with an ongoing inquiry group there would be regular gatherings during the slower summer months.  It is important to continue the contact with the inquirers although the nature and frequency of the gatherings may change.  A barbecue either at the parish or at the home of one of the parishioners would allow for family members to attend.  A time of socializing and shared prayer before the meal would mentor others in community living.

Throughout the Easter season it is possible to have a variety of people formally connected to the initiation process.  It is becoming more common for a parish to have catechumens who continue to gather to Break Open the Word each Sunday throughout Easter and Ordinary Time.  These people are continuing their time of apprenticeship and formation.  During the summer months the catechumens and families along with the inquirers and families could participate in a visit to a local outdoor shrine.  The visit to the shrine could include time for prayer, catechesis on the saint and fellowship.

In some parishes there are a number of festivals that occur during the early months of summer.  Often the festival is linked to a particular cultural group and focus on a certain saint.  Inviting the leaders responsible for the festival to include those seeking initiation is a concrete way of fostering a greater understanding of initiation as a task of all the baptized.

The neophytes, those newly received into Full Communion and their families could be involved in the organizing and hospitality for some of the activities. 

The slower days of summer are times of renewal and rest.  It is possible to respect the need for renewal while expanding our understanding of initiation as a time of formation and apprenticeship.  We live as Catholics 52 weeks of the year so it is reasonable for our initiation process to reflect the fullness of a Catholic lifestyle.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The Word of God in the Sacraments of the Church

Thank you to the 68 people who gathered with the Christian Initiation Committee at the Providence Spirituality Centre in Kingston on September 15 and 16, 2017.  People from across our province travelled to be a part of this formation event. 

There were participants from the  following dioceses: London, Hamilton, Toronto, Timmins, Kingston and  Ottawa. Archbishop Brendan O'Brien from the archdiocese of Kingston joined us to Evening Prayer on Friday. 

The three focus sessions were: 

The Word of God in Our Lives                                                  
“The Scriptures are the living waters from which all who seek life and salvation must drink.”  Introduction to the Lectionary, CCCB, 2009, par. 5

The Word of God at the Heart of Initiation
“The Church has always venerated the divine scriptures as it has venerated the Body of the Lord, in that it never ceases, above all in the sacred liturgy, to partake of the bread of life and to offer it to the faithful from the one table of the word of God and the Body of Christ.”
Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, par. 21

The Word of God: Integral to Initial and Ongoing Catechesis
“Catechesis will always draw its content from the living source of the Word of God transmitted in Tradition and the Scriptures, for sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the word of God, which is entrusted to the Church” General Directory for Catechesis par. 94   

The evaluation forms indicate that the participants found the time helpful, formative and spiritually enriching.  

May all parish initiation members continue to strive to put people not only in touch but also in communion and intimacy with Jesus Christ. (General Directory for Catechesis, par. 80) 


Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Word of God in the Sacraments of the Church
For those who prepare people to celebrate Sacraments of Initiation

Friday September 15, 2017 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. 
and Saturday September 16, 2017 
from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Providence Spirituality Centre
1200 Princess St. Kingston, ON

Sponsored by the
Christian Initiation Committee, Ontario Liturgical Conference
A Consultative Body of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario

We are called to hear and reflect on the Word of God to more deeply become the word of God ourselves and proclaim it by our lives. This gathering will focus on the role of the Word of God in our lives as Catholics. We shall explore the place God’s Word has in the preparation for Baptism, Confirmation and first sharing in Holy Communion as well as the implications of having the Word of God at the heart of the initiation process (RCIA).

The conference is for all who prepare others to celebrate a sacrament of initiation including
Pastors and Deacons,
those who lead the parish RCIA,
parish leaders responsible for Baptism preparation for infants
leaders of the parish Confirmation Preparation
leaders of the parish First Communion Preparation
and all people who have a passion for God’s Word.

Cost
Option A $105.00 (Conference, Friday Night Social, accommodation on Friday, Supper on Friday, Breakfast and Lunch on Saturday)
Add $10.00 if registering after August 15th.

Option B $50.00 (Conference, Friday Night Social and Saturday lunch)

Add $10.00 if registering after August 15th.

Brochure and registration form available by clicking on Upcoming Workshops. 

Monday, 27 March 2017

A Formation Event in September 2017

The Word of God in the Sacraments of the Church
For those who prepare people to celebrate sacraments of initiation

Friday September 15, 2017 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
and Saturday September 16, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Providence Spirituality Centre
1200 Princess St. Kingston, ON

We are called to hear and reflect on the Word of God to more deeply become the word of God ourselves and proclaim it by our lives. This gathering will focus on the role of the Word of God in our lives as Catholics. We shall explore the place God’s Word has in the preparation for Baptism, Confirmation and first sharing in Holy Communion as well as the implications of having the Word of God at the heart of the initiation process (RCIA).

The conference is for all who prepare others to celebrate a sacrament of initiation including
Pastors and Deacons,
those who lead the parish RCIA,
parish leaders responsible for the Baptism preparation for infants
leaders of the parish Confirmation Preparation
leaders of the parish First Communion Preparation
and all people who have a passion for God’s Word.

Option A $105.00 *                                                                
Supper on September 15                                                       
Conference and Facility Fee                                                 
Accommodation at Providence Spirituality Centre ***
Breakfast, Lunch on September 16

Option B (commuters) $50.00 
Conference and Facility Fee
Lunch on September 16
*Add $10.00 if registering after August 15th.

***The rooms at Providence Spirituality Centre do not have a private bathroom. There is limited availability so please register early.

A limited number of rooms have been reserved at the Thriftlodge Kingston (formerly the Peachtree Inn), located across the street from the centre. The cost is $99.00 (double occupancy) which includes parking, WIFI, continental breakfast. Reserve your room with Thriftlodge Kingston (1-800-706-0698) before August 15, 2017. When reserving your room please mention reference number 732-998038 or ask for the OLC Initiation group. 


Full brochure available after June 1, 2017 at http://olcinitiation.blogspot.ca 
click on Upcoming Workshops.
Email: olcrcia@gmail.com or call Catherine at 705 718 4808.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Called to Journey Together in Christ

Summer School for Liturgical Musicians and Parish Initiation Leaders  July 17 - 20, 2016

 
For more than 20 years the Music Commission of the Ontario Liturgical Conference, (a consultative body to the Assembly of Catholic Bishops) has offered a formation event for all parish liturgical musicians.  This year for the first time, the Music Commission and the Christian Initiation Committee both of the Ontario Liturgical Conference are joining together to offer a formation event.  You may access information about this event by clicking on Upcoming Workshops.

If you have any questions please send an email to olcrcia@gmail.com

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Registration for The Role of the Whole Parish in Preparing Children and Adults to Celebrate Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist is closed.  If you have any questions please contact us by email at olcrcia@gmail.com