by Dennis Coday
As part of its mission to provide formation for the local church, Precious Blood Renewal Center hosted for a second year daylong programs for inquirers and sponsors involved in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults.
This year the Renewal Center offered two days of reflection for RCIA sponsors and inquirers from parishes in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas.
About 65 people attended the November 2 event, which was presented by Precious Blood Fr. Ron Will, Director of Spirituality for the Renewal Center, and Teresa Albright and Biagio Mazza, who are both pastoral associates at parishes in Kansas City, Missouri.
Nineteen people attended the November 23 event, which was presented in Spanish and led by Fr. Chuck Tobin, a priest of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese.
Both days focused on two aspects of the RICA process: discernment and relationship. The team gave an overview of the discernment process and demonstrated tools the participants could use for their own discernment.
“The aim of the retreat was to open the door for a more personal relationship with God as [the inquirers and sponsors] continue their spiritual journeys toward full initiation into the Catholic church,” said Will. “After visiting with some of them since the retreat, I am confident that we succeeded.”
To guide the participants on this journey, the team used questions like “What’s the difference between being a member of the Church versus a member of a country club or social club?” This helps develop relationship with fellow parishioners and build up the church as the Body of Christ, they said.
According to Mazza, the presenters also talked about “understanding grace as a relationship rather than a quantity.” It was a focus that participants found beneficial, Mazza said.
One of the exercises was walking the Reconciliation Labyrinth on the Precious Blood Renewal Center campus. Mazza explained: “The experience with the labyrinth was [learning about] a way of prayer as well as a means of reconciling with God and one another in terms of what it means to be members of God’s family.”
The Renewal Center will make a couple of changes to the programs for next year, based on feedback from participants this year. One change will be to add one more day for the program, which would give participants more options to join the event and would also ensure participant numbers can be accommodated.
Participants of the Spanish program asked the Renewal Center to host a day early next year for Spanish speaking RCIA directors and leaders from both sides of the state line to brainstorm about their programs and what their needs are for training leaders. Renewal Center staff is working on this program now.