Catholic Diocese of Richmond | Office of Christian Formation | November 2019 RCIA Newsletter
News and Resources for RCIA Team Members
What's in this edition?

The Catechumenate - what to do with our catechumens?

Liturgical Catechesis and its use with initiatory catechesis

Liturgical Year Resources to Consider
The Catechumenate
The instruction that the catechumens receive during this period should be of a kind that while presenting Catholic teaching in its entirety also enlightens faith, directs the heart toward God, fosters participation in the liturgy, inspires apostolic activity, and nurtures a life completely in accord with the spirit of Christ. (RCIA, 78)
The last edition of the RCIA Newsletter focused on the Rite of Acceptance, the liturgical celebration that moves a seeker from "inquirer" to "catechumen." If you missed that edition, you can view it here .

Next, the catechumens, both children and adults, enter the catechumenate which is an extended period of "pastoral formation and guidance, aimed at training them in the Christian Life." (RCIA, 75)

This involves several components ( emphasis added) :
  1. Catechesis that is "gradual and complete ... accommodated to the liturgical year." (RCIA, 75.1)
  2. Aided by sponsors and the whole community who model a "Christian way of life" including "turning more readily to God in prayer, to bear witness to the faith," learning to discern God's presence in their lives so as to live in the hope of Christ and to "practice love of neighbor....Thus formed, the newly converted set out on a spiritual journey." (RCIA, 75.2)
  3. This journey is supported by the Church through its liturgical rites: dismissal, minor exorcisms, blessings, celebrations of the liturgy of the Word, and anointing. (RCIA, 75.3 & 79)
  4. Enter into the apostolic life of the Church and spreading the Gospel. (RCIA, 75.4)

Looking at this list it is clear that a proper catechumenate can not occur only in a classroom environment with a primary emphasis on doctrinal teaching. The faith must be experienced to take root in the lives of the catechumens and this happens mostly in the life of the parish community and through our liturgical celebrations.

Share with us some of your favorite formative moments with your catechumens!
Liturgical Catechesis
The Liturgical Year and the RCIA
A benefit of studying religious education at CUA in the mid-1990's was the opportunity to work closely with Sr. Kate Dooley, OP, ( 1933-2015 ). A noted educator and theologian of the post-Vatican II Church, she pioneered the relationship between liturgy and catechesis; showing them integral to all sacramental formation.

In 1994, the Catechism of the Catholic Church writes:

Liturgical catechesis aims to initiate people into the mystery of Christ ... by proceeding from the visible to the invisible, from the sign to the thing signified, from the 'sacraments' to the 'mysteries.'(CCC, 1075)

Liturgical catechesis is a natural part of initiation catechesis. Trusting in the paschal mystery, as it is revealed and experienced throughout the liturgical year, is a great "resource" for RCIA.

Not convinced the liturgical year can provide your catechumens with the catechesis called for in RCIA 75.1 above? Check out this chart created by Sr. Sandra DeMasi showing what can be learned while following the liturgical calendar.
Resources to Support Liturgical Catechesis
Apprentices in Faith

Lectionary based program for Adults by RCL-Benziger.
Fully digital. Contains dismissal outlines and session content for each liturgical year. Child/Youth version available as well. Click to learn more.
Friends on the Way

Lectionary based, liturgical catechesis for use with Children seeking full initiation. Fully digital. Training video. More information and sample lessons available here .
Faith Life and Creed

Lectionary based program for adults. Fully digital. Contains dismissal and catechetical session plans. Includes training videos on how to use the materials. Click here for information and a free sample.
Companion to the Calendar: A guide to the Saints, Seasons and Holidays of the Year
Multiple Authors

Your guide to the Catholic observances of the liturgical seasons and times, the saints, and popular devotions. Great for catechists working with all age groups. Order from LTP by clicking here .
Your Parish is the Curriculum
Book by Diana Macalintal

Read how to implement a year round initiation process in your parish by taking RCIA out of the classroom and into the life, worship and ministry of the parish. Think differently about the catechumenate.
Click here to order.
Liturgical Year Calendars
Check out this one from Pflaum. It comes in an affordable packaging so that each family can have one at home. Available in Spanish, too. Click here .

The Year of Grace
A laminated calendar from Liturgy Training Publications, can be found here .
Spanish too!
Have a favorite resource or a new video you love? Share it with others in this newsletter by sending to
Share the Joy of Ministry
Send me your favorite photos in RCIA ministry: period of pre-evangelization, retreats, prayer, service projects, celebration of the Rite of Acceptance, etc.

Attach them to an email and state the parish and event. Your photos could be featured here!
RCIA Questions?
RCIA Process, Formation, Preparation, Children's Initiation, and more - Contact Sheri Kemp, 804-622-5113,

Liturgical Questions? Contact the Office of Worship at 804-622-5235,

Marriage or Annulment Questions? Contact the Office of the Tribunal at 804-355-9155