I signed up to be an RCIA catechist last year at my parish, but we didn’t have any catechumens. And so the year passed. In the summer the director had a few of us attend some RCIA formation classes down at the seminary. They were very informative even though they were intended for experienced catechists.
This season we have four catechumens and three candidates seeking entry in to the Catholic Church. Two weeks ago we catechists met with the director for our introductory meeting to get a little biography on each of our seekers, and today I had my first Breaking Open the Word session.
I had been going over this Sunday’s readings and the catechist guidelines for handling a session most of the week, but I wasn’t really sure what I needed to prepare if anything. I put together a number of 3×5 cards to keep my thoughts together as the session progressed. At the last minute I decided to put together the catechumen/candidate questions on a sheet and I made copies of them at the rectory just before mass.
What amazes me is that I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be. I’m not sure why, but it worked out well for me. I met two of the catechumens just before mass, and then the rest at the dismissal after the homily. We exited the church in procession and then went to a classroom in the school.
I said to the seekers, when we sat at the table, I’m new at this and hopefully I’ll not mess up too much. One of them said, it’s okay, we’re new at this too. That was a huge relief for me. None of our seekers has much in the way of previous faith formation, most have none at all.
So we proceeded to read and discuss the Wisdom readings for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time. As a catechist we are supposed to present the questions and just wait for the comments, so there is a lot of silence. I think I may have waited too long some of the time. But then other times you can see them trying to formulate something in their mind and so it is good to just be silent for a while. What I thought was really nice was seeing how soon into their formation that they are already thinking about life with the gift of God’s Wisdom.
By the end of the session my 3×5 cards were a mess and I couldn’t find the one I needed, so next time I’ll just do my outline on standard paper. The catechist who did the children’s session came in for the closing prayer. She asked all of the candidates and catechumens what they had learned this week. They all had a pretty quick response. So, all in all, today’s session was a good learning experience both for me and the seekers.
Hopefully for my next session, I will receive a little more of God’s Wisdom in order to do a little better job.