RCIA 246: Community

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What are the fruits of the mystagogical period? For the neophytes? For the faith community?

246. Just as their new participation in the sacraments enlightens the neophytes’ understanding of the Scriptures, so too it increases their contact with the rest of the faithful and has an impact on the community.

Pausing here to note the echo of Luke 24:13-35, one of the great mystagogical Scriptures of the Easter Lectionary. (Third Sunday in cycle A and Easter Wednesday each year.)

As a result, interaction between the neophytes and the faithful is made easier and more beneficial. The period of postbaptismal catechesis is of great significance for both the neophytes and the rest of the faithful. Through it the neophytes, with the help of their godparents, should experience a full and joyful welcome into the community and enter into closer ties with the other faithful. The faithful, in turn, should derive from it a renewal of inspiration and of outlook.

From this section we might conclude that one of the goals of the mystagogical period is the quality of unity, the integration of the newcomers into the faith community. Is the celebration of Eucharist with neophytes such a step for the parish that the mere inclusion of newcomers (no more dismissal) makes an impact? Or has the faith witness of the catechumens/elect come to a fruition, and now the rest of the community sees and experiences it?

I would imagine a community attuned to evangelization would derive great benefit from the full inclusion of newcomers. Does that happen in your parish? Clearly, if the community is involved beforehand in the catechumenate journey, one cannot expect it not to happen. But if RCIA is kept segregated from the parish at-large, that would be one serious strike against the mystagogical period from the get-go.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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2 Responses to RCIA 246: Community

  1. Liam says:

    Well, this begs the larger question of how community is experienced by the community. That is, in the typical parochial setting you have the following:

    1. Clergy
    2. Perhaps religious involved in teaching.
    3. The lay faithful in the world, divided (with potential for overlap, of course) into:
    a. People who are involved in intramural ministries
    b. People who are involved in extramural apostolates
    c. People who are not in (a) or (b) and who go to a preferred time of Mass as frequently as they can or desire.
    d. “Irregulars”

    The lay faithful may also be divided:
    aa. Those who have children involved in catechesis and sacramental preparation, perhaps even general schooling.
    bb. Those who do not.

    And further:
    aaa. Those who are within the territorial parish
    bbb. Those who are not and may be considered intentionally gathered.

    * * *

    Into which group(s) above are neophytes typically integrated (a descriptive question)? Into which groups should they be integrated (a prescriptive question) and how?

  2. Jimmy Mac says:

    Community? Here is community that will drive more than a few of the traditionalists to the wall!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIkqFO8bCqc&feature=player_embedded (Walla Walla, WA)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iLGShDzCUA&feature=player_embedded (Grand Rapids, MI)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WEXm-IAHp4&feature=player_embedded (Sacramento, CA)

    http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=343654 (Chicago, IL)

    Feliz fiesta de la Virgen de Guadalupe!

    The face of the future US church is here.

    http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2009/1206/interview.aspx

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