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Purification and Enlightenment

April 15th, 2014by Dan Thomas


One of the most challenging, most exciting and most meaningful of the “jobs” I did as a Director of Religious Education for the thirty years that I was in that profession was working with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). It was a process for those who were exploring entrance into the Catholic Church that lasted as least nine months and for some longer.

During that time those in this process listened to presentations on Catholic doctrine/teaching, asked questions and discussed the answers with sponsors, catechists and among themselves, and slowly discerned whether the Catholic faith was for them. Some began as searchers wanting to find answers to both practical and deep questions about Church, God, Jesus and life itself. Others began wanting to be part of the faith of a spouse, or wanting to be a parishioner to be part of the parish school or a thousand other reasons.

But most began to move to meeting the mysteries that the Catholic faith both confronts and presents:

  •          Who is this God who is both here and beyond?
  •          Who is Jesus the Christ?
  •          Where is the Spirit leading me/us?
  •          How does the Church fit into this picture?
  •          What does each of these speak to my/our life?

This journey is one that not only those in RCIA is called to join, but one which all Catholics are (or should be) part of. The RCIA process itself calls the people of the parish to join the inquirers in reflecting on and re-experiencing the Faith.

Lent evolved out of the RCIA process of the early Church as it prepared those intrigued by the Church to be baptized at Easter. It was a time to purify their intentions and way of life and meet (be enlightened by) this God/Jesus/Spirit/community they had found so attractive. Each of us now is called to be part of the 21st century Lenten scrutinies and presentations of Creed and the Lord’s Prayer that are elements of this faith-exploring process, so we to can make our faith deeper and more real. Thus those outside our Church can experience a community that cares, challenges, grows and lives those values that are essential to living truly human/divine lives

Dan Thomas

Dan Thomas is a retired Director of Religious Education, living in Dayton Ohio. His education includes graduation from Chaminade HS and the University of Dayton (MA in Pastoral Ministry). He is married with two adult sons and is a parishioner at St. Helen, Dayton.