We did what I said we wouldn’t do this year–we asked those involved in the catechumenate to join the parish in the ADVENTure series during Advent. This is a series of outreach activities. I stressed to the sponsors that they needed to go with the candidates and encourage them to participate. This worked for the first week then it fell apart.
Meanwhile the team used the first week of Advent to reflect on the past year and to look ahead. We felt pretty good about the focus on lectio but decided that we would try one session a month focused on “church” questions about the “what’s this?” and the “why’s that?” questions. People really yearn for that and don’t seem to think they are “learning” unless they understand these things.
We (I with the team response, “OK let’s try it”) decided to move the meetings to Sundays in 2012. We’ve done so but numbers have not increased. They seem to have fallen off. That’s because we have two meeting times: 9:00, during the 9am service, and one at 11:15, during that service. Participation as been sporadic but the 9 has been slowly growing. It also seems like fewer numbers because of the two times rather than one. Some weeks we have no participants at one or the other meeting. Fortunately the leaders have faith and stick with me.
One member has left the group to take a Thursday eve class on the Episcopal church. She is still in the catechumenate even though she doesn’t come to the meetings. She is following her path. Her sponsor is staying with her.
We do not have candidates for the Rite of Enrollment this year even though we do have a candidate for Confirmation. She was baptized at the Vigil last year (the Bishop was not here). My initial judgement at the time was that she was not ready. She was. As I have seen her involvement in the church this year, I am convinced that she is ready to celebrate confirmation. I approached her about it at Christmas. She wants to. I told her I want her to meet with the Bishop prior to confirmation. She will keep the same sponsor.
God continues to teach me what it means to honor the unique paths of each and how to coordinate all of these in the “church.” Flexibility and openness are key.