Rita Burns Senseman
Perhaps the simplest way to improve children’s RCIA is to personally invite parish children and their families to the Easter Vigil. The more children and families we have at the Easter Vigil, celebrating the Sacraments of Initiation with children in the RCIA, the richer and better our celebrations will be. More children and families at the Vigil is not only a testament of gladness and support to the RCIA families, it’s a way to deepen the faith of our Catholic families.
When more kids and parents are at the Vigil, they experience the power of the liturgy, the sacraments, and the RCIA. This not only heightens awareness of children in the RCIA, it makes more parish children, and families want to be a part of it.
In order to make this happen effectively, you will have to do some advance planning.
Perhaps the most important this is to begin inviting early.
You may think you are being a pest, but people really do forget. Or they just put off answering. Keep asking until you get a definite no.
If possible, give the parish children significant roles at the Vigil.
Be creative in finding ways to significantly involve the parish children in the Easter Vigil.
Friends on the Way: Children’s Catechumenate Resource has everything you need need to feel confident you are teaching the faith of the Church.
Schedule a pot luck dinner a week or two after the Vigil. Invite everyone who participated. Invite the whole parish if you have a hall big enough to hold them.
Spend some time with your team evaluating how your invitation plan worked out. If you are the whole team, make an appointment with yourself. Write down what really worked well. Discuss the things that misfired. What did you want to try but didn’t get to? Then make a plan inviting families and children to the coming Easter Vigil!
Rita Burns Senseman is the pastoral associate and director of religious education at St. Benedict Parish in Terre Haute, Indiana. She has written numerous articles and books on various aspects of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, including A Child's Journey: The Christian Initiation of Children.