The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is a group for adults who would like to know more about the Catholic Faith; or for any adult thinking about becoming a Catholic. Most groups are parish based and we have had our own group in St Edmunds since the late 1980s.
As you may remember we had to suspend our course in 2020 due to lockdown shortly before our candidates were due to be received into the Church at the Easter Vigil. The course was postponed until later that year when restrictions for churches were eased after the summer. We were able to arrange a specially adapted service with limited numbers able to attend, some self-distancing in the small congregation, and with rites adapted to take account of health and safety. It was strange to hold this service without the traditional and beautiful rites of the Easter Vigil, with participants wearing masks, without a choir, or organ music, or hymns, and with limited readings and prayers. But despite the circumstances, for those of us who were there, this will be the RCIA service that we will simply never forget. It will stand alone for the peace and quiet joy of the candidates who after long delay and uncertainty, were at last able to fulfil their ambition to receive the Sacraments of the Catholic Church. The haunting sound of the lone singer, Richard, standing near the back of the church, the adapted rites led by Father Steve and Father Ashley, and for the first time the baptism of three children alongside their new Catholic parents. It was a valuable lesson that the simplicity of baptism, confirmation, and eucharist, does not require the panoply of major celebration to prove its significance for those receiving these sacraments for the first time or to make a deep impact on those looking on.
Shortly after this, restrictions were imposed once again and we had to accept that the next course could not go ahead. Thankfully the Diocesan Agency for Evangelisation arranged Zoom courses for enquirers during that time and there has been some positive feedback from the first enquirers to learn about the Catholic Church through Zoom talks and discussion sessions.
During the long break we prepared one candidate for confirmation at this year’s Easter Vigil, and we gave a lot of thought to how we could improve and adapt the course for the future. We know that we must now take account of technology, online participation, and internet resources. People today have very different working and study patterns to those of even a decade ago. If in future we are to effectively reach out to those who want to learn more about the Church and the teachings of Jesus Christ then we must change the way we deliver the message. We will work in the coming months, together with our Priests and Deacons, to provide a more flexible programme to meet the needs of our enquirers in the 21st century. We will keep you informed of progress and as ever we ask for your prayers and support for the success of this project.
If you or anyone you know might be interested in the next course which starts in September then look and listen out for more information on the noticeboards in the narthex or in the newsletter.
Or you can get in touch with us by email.
Thank you for reading this.
Cathy and Mary