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Qualities & roles of RCIA team members

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 
—Colossians 3:12–17
 

Qualities of an RCIA team member 

The ideal qualities of an RCIA team member will be informed by the kind of environment we wish to create. 
  • We are to live lives of hospitality, interacting in welcoming, warm and accommodating ways.
  • We are to be pilgrims on the journey, accompanying enquirers on their way. 
  • We are to be lovers of the word, of the sacraments and of God, sharing what we know and love.
  • We are to be real and authentic, so that others can relate to our wonderings and struggles.
  • We are to engage openly in dialogue, being willing to listen and share—remembering we have two ears and only one mouth!
  • We are to be instruments of God, open to the action of the Holy Spirit working in and through us.
  • We are community members, introducing new people into the life of the church in all its aspects. 

 
 
Only through a communion with the triune God are we able to recognise the face of God in one another. This recognition is the basis for the love, care, dignity and reverence the RCIA team gives to those on their journey towards initiation … Evangelisation is achieved by mirroring Jesus’ welcome and healing, and we and the community must show healing, welcome and respect to enquirers. 
—Elio Capra 
 

How we must act

An RCIA team member:
  • is welcoming
  • is a good listener
  • demonstrates the positive impact of his/her faith in the daily living of gospel values
  • is sensitive to all the unknowns facing a newcomer to the faith
  • is open and non-judgmental
  • sees the process of conversion as God’s work, in which team members are instruments
  • does not dominate in a group
  • recognises the face of God in others.# 
 
The rite lays enormous stress on the idea that the entire community acts together
as the minister of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.
 

Roles of RCIA team members

  • Coordinator: Oversees team members; offers encouragement, planning and organisation skills; invites new members and empowers members in their ministries
  • Team member—catechist: Plans and shares knowledge
  • Team member—hospitality: Creates a warm, welcoming environment
  • Team member—liturgy/prayer: Creates the prayer space, and prepares and/or leads prayer
  • Team member—godparent or sponsor: Becomes a close friend and/or mentor to the catechumen or candidate
  • Team member: Leads or participates in the Liturgy of the Word dismissal (either by actually ‘breaking open’ the word or by simply and joyfully sharing life experiences that link to the word and homily)
  • Team member—communicator: Looks for opportunities for people to share their personal journeys with the community; facilitates links between the group and the broader parish
  • Pastor (parish priest): Participates in the journey, encourages the team and places RCIA at the heart of the community through homilies, liturgical rites and explanations 
 
 
 
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Sources:
Adapted from RCIA Team Training Session at St Simon’s, Rowville, used with permission.
#Lyn Kane 
 

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