The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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March 3, 2000 Issue
Local News

We're all part of initiation

With fewer priests, all of us need to learn about RCIA

By Nancy Vande Hey
Compass Correspondent

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, Kaukauna.

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 says.

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 faith tradition."

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.

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