LINCOLN (SNR) – St. Michael Parish in Lincoln will offer two RCIA classes for those interested in the Catholic Faith on Sunday and Friday mornings stating this fall.
“The RCIA process is not for the faint of heart,” said pastor Father Kenneth Borowiak. “But the RCIA team is determined to accompany anyone willing to take the journey. And they are going to great lengths to do it.”
Related link: What is RCIA?
He said that three and a half years ago, he called a parish team together to discuss how to rejuvenate the RCIA experience.
“Our first step,” he said, “was training.” Five team members, including then-newly-ordained Father Eric Clark, assistant pastor at the time, traveled to Kansas City for a weekend-long training on the RCIA process and adult faith formation, facilitated by the Augustine Institute.
“The team came back on fire,” Father Borowiak said.
The Augustine Institute, headquartered in Denver, is answering Saint John Paul II’s call for a New Evangelization through a variety of on-campus and online academic offerings, initiatives and outreaches. A key component to the Augustine Institute’s RCIA offerings is its Symbolon series – a set of interactive DVDS which explain the Catholic faith. It is also available online through Formed.org, which is available to every parish in the Diocese of Lincoln.
Since the St. Michael team training, the RCIA experience at the parish has evolved its emphasis on sponsorship, hospitality, and invitation.
“We are constantly discussing how we can improve the experience,” said Joy Martin, RCIA coordinator. “At the end of one process, we examine what worked, what didn’t, and what we need to adjust to better support the minds and hearts of those seeking the Lord and His Church.”
Even scheduling has been an experiment. The team has offered classes on Sunday evenings and Thursday evenings and has added, on top of the traditional nine-month process, a four-month, accelerated summer process and, most recently, a Friday morning option to run parallel to a Sunday morning class.
All is done in the spirit of the New Evangelization—new in expression, ardor, and methods.
While Father Borowiak continues his tradition of sending hand-written invitations to potential inquirers in the parish, he has encouraged the team and parishioners to expand marketing outreach—everything from announcements, testimonials, flyers, Catholic media, one on one conversations and door-to-door visits.
“We want to meet people where they are and help them walk this journey of faith,” he said.
A journey of faith inquiry deserves time, discernment, and whole-hearted engagement.
But many refrain from joining this journey of faith due to work schedules, travel constraints, and family obligations, he said. They simply cannot make the RCIA schedule fit their own.
The 2017-18 St. Michael class options will be on Sundays and Fridays.
The primary class will be held from 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., after the 9:30 a.m. Mass. This option gives inquirers an opportunity to form community, encounter Jesus through prayer, and learn about the teachings of the Church in an inviting and engaging atmosphere. Classes begin Sept. 17.
Those unable to participate on Sundays are encouraged to consider the weekday option of Fridays, from 9:30 to 11 a.m., beginning Sept. 15. These classes would run parallel to the Sunday classes and join together for all rites and special events.
Both classes will be held at St. Michael Parish, 9101 S. 78th St. in southeast Lincoln.
“Pope Francis encourages Catholics to be a Church that practices the art of accompaniment—accompanying people on their journey of faith, meeting them where they are,” Father Borowiak said. “The RCIA team at St. Michael is committed to welcoming all who desire the opportunity to learn and love Jesus Christ and His Church.”
All are invited to a “Taste and See Gathering” at the parish rectory, 7501 Yankee Woods Dr., Lincoln, Sept. 10 to gather more information and ask questions about both options. Father Borowiak stressed that all are welcome – members of any parish in Lincoln, or neighboring communities, and the general public in southeast Nebraska.