Your Parish is the Curriculum
ISBN: 9780814644652, 4465
eISBN: 9780814644881, E4488
Details: 142 pgs , 6 x 9
Publication Date: 03/05/2018
Our Book Review
I first encountered Diana Macalintal’s passion for sharing the Catholic faith when she and her husband (Nick Wagner, TeamRCIA) were keynote speakers at the National RCIA Conference in Perth two years ago. Diana’s commitment to evangelisation and her natural warmth are more than evident in this new release about the RCIA process. Diana addresses many of the perennial questions that get asked when a parish community takes on welcoming adults into the Catholic faith, including:
What program will we use?
How do we meet the different needs of our enquirers (baptised or not, catechised or not, baptised but not fully initiated, and so on)? Who will be on the ‘RCIA team’?
How can we stay faithful to the Rite, but make it work in our parish context?
Macalintal draws the book title from a section within the USCCB’s document, Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us – A Pastoral Plan for Adult Faith Formation in the United States (Section 118) – a document also worth reading. This book puts flesh on the ideas made in the USCCB’s document and is a reminder of two important realities. The first is that our baptism matters. Those who are enquiring about the faith, are seeking what baptism offers - ‘an intimate relationship with the living Christ active in the world’– even if they don’t express it in those words (p 118). And, secondly, the whole parish community, as the Body of Christ is the training ground for those seeking to understand how Christ is at work in the world. It is not just the RCIA team!
The first chapter of the book explains how the parish really can provide the curriculum for your RCIA process, regardless of the size of your parish. Chapters two and three discuss how the community of the baptised can form the team, and at what stages of the initiation process they engage with. The next three chapters give practical examples of how to link the curriculum with parish activities. Whilst Macalintal uses examples of US parishes, I found that there was plenty of similarity to draw on for our own Australian context. The same applies in the final chapter where she examines the many different kinds of people who come seeking to know more about, and hopefully join, our Catholic faith.
This book is not just for members of the RCIA team. I would encourage every parish priest, all members of the Parish Pastoral Council and the parish leadership team (if you have one), and those who will lead the RCIA process to read this book. Set aside about three hours. If you have run the RCIA process before, then be prepared to have your ideas turned upside down. And, if you’re like me, then come with tissues. Macalintal’s story of ‘Rocio’ will touch your heart and re-energise those who are ‘RCIA fatigued’. She also beautifully relays other stories of how parishioners’ lives have been touched when they accept their baptismal call to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
Let this book transform how your parish ‘does RCIA’!