RCIA: Welcoming people into Catholic Church

Over the years I have met many people who truly have longed to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Having made this pilgrimage myself several times, I have encouraged them to do so. But several have responded reluctantly by saying, “It’s too dangerous to go there.”

On one hand, sadly, they are right. “Jerusalem”, which means “city of peace”, has rarely been at peace in its very long history. On the other hand, however, if we wait for the right time to go where Jesus walked, we will never go.

Recently, I have heard a somewhat similar argument put forward about the prudence of encouraging people to become Catholics at this particular time.

Yes, of course, in the middle of a Royal Commission into sexual abuse by Church personnel, it is the worst of times for the Catholic Church in Australia. But, then again, when is the right time to become a Catholic?

There is an old Portuguese expression (slighted adapted): “The Holy Spirit writes straight in crooked lines.”

I thought of this expression recently. I heard from so many priests (and my own experience) over the Holy Week ceremonies – especially Easter Sunday, that Mass attendances were at an all time high. Just when we thought the people would be heading for the exits, they were blocking the exits in trying to come in!

The Holy Spirit is constantly at work bringing people into our Church, regardless of our own sinfulness and weaknesses! It is always the right time to welcome people into the Catholic Church! After all, in essence, we are a missionary Church. So let us try all the harder to invite, accompany, discern with people God’s desires deep in their hearts.

Generally, this is done for adults through the ancient pathway to initiation into the Church – the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).

In these days, my Office for Evangelisation (AOE) is organising leadership formation evenings for present and future parish leaders of RCIA groups in the Archdiocese. I am involved personally in this adult education initiative. It is my fervent desire that an RCIA team is present in every parish of the Archdiocese. Sadly, we are far from realising this aim so far. Even if no enquirers sign up in a particular year, the RCIA team continues as a prayer support group. They are like the evangelisation team of the parish. Evangelisation never “closes down” until people show up!

You may wish to contact Sharon Brewer from my AOE to seek further advice or information. Email:  sharon.brewer@cg.org.au  Phone:  02 6163 4300

Come and join us!