We're all part of initiation
With fewer priests, all of us need to learn about RCIA
By Nancy Vande Hey
As Catholics in the Green Bay Diocese consider how to cope with
diminishing numbers of active priests, Kaukauna parishes are
preparing the laity to accept more responsibility.
"I am convinced that the parishes who have a large number of
parishioners trained and ready to accept responsibility will not
only survive this priest shortage, but will thrive," says Fr. Bob
Udulutsch, pastor of St. Mary of the Annunciation Parish,
To help Catholics understand their role, the parishes are
sponsoring a Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
Learning Experience from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 18,
at St. Mary, Kaukauna.
"By our baptism, each of is called to be a missionary, to be the
Good News and to give this Good News to others," Fr. Udulutsch
He and a team of people from the Kaukauna parishes have been
planning the event since fall. A team of three people will
present some of the rites involved in the process and explain how
parishioners are involved.
"I hope that by the experience of the day they will better
understand the process of Christian Initiation and thus see its
value for the entire community of faith," says one of the
presenters, Kay Schumacher, pastoral associate and director of
RCIA at St. Matthew Parish, Green Bay.
"Initiation ministry is the responsibility of all of us and an
incredibly grace-filled opportunity," says a second presenter,
Terry Gunville, co-director of the catechumenate at Our Lady of
Lourdes Parish, Milwaukee. "New members challenge us to stretch
and expand our own faith as we share the rich treasures of our
Gunville has conducted similar workshops in this diocese and the
Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
The third member of the team is Meghan Fawcett, who entered the
church through the RCIA process. She was baptized at the Easter
Vigil in 1997 at St. Willebrord Parish, Green Bay.
She will talk about what it is like to go through the process and
will discuss how the parish has helped her since then.
"A parish needs to provide a welcoming atmosphere - a home that
people want to be a part of," Fawcett says.
Fawcett says her parents are spiritual, but not religious, people
who did not raise their children in any one particular faith. She
says making an adult decision to join the church gives her a deep
appreciation for her faith.
"So many people who are 'cradle Catholics' lose appreciation for
the faith and I don't think they realize the hunger for
spirituality that people coming into the faith have," she says.
She says she wants to help rekindle that hunger in those who
attend the learning experience at St. Mary's.
The day long experience is free but a donation of $2 or $3 is
requested to cover the cost of lunch; however, Fr. Udulutsch says
people should attend even if they cannot contribute any money.
Organizers request people pre-register by calling the St. Mary
parish office at (920)766-1445.