I met Ravi Verma through Brian Baker, the Dean of Trinity Cathedral. Ravi is much more into IT than I and agreed to help me set up this blog. He also helped us do a major upgrade of our network. (For both, thank you, Ravi!)
Ravi is a dedicated Buddhist. He leads several classes at Trinity and has his own group of disciples. After setting up this blog, he asked me about the catechumenate. We have both grown in appreciation of each others religious traditions. I have done considerable study in the history of religions and we have had numerous Buddhist related events at Trinity. So I compared the catechumenate journey to that which an apprentice to Buddhism takes in growing towards Enlightenment.
Indeed, all of the major (and many of the “minor”) religious traditions strive towards the same thing: Enlightenment, Salvation, Nirvana. Ah, what about Islam, you ask. Keep asking while you read the Koran. Realize that there have been and are fanatics (zealots) in each and all traditions. And note that I am speaking about religous traditions as distinguished from religions. The latter are human institutions that try to embody the former. They/we often fail. But religions are necessary because, until we attain Enlightenment, Nirvana, the Reign of the Divine, our limited, physical, communal selves need religions.
Anyway, THANK YOU, RAVI, for your friendship, insights and wonderful discussions!
Only my second entry. I’m new to blogging so it’s taking me a bit to figure this out. The site looks pretty simple thus far and maybe that’s OK. I plan to add pictures and references to articles as I find them. Also I will start with three categories: “Profile, “Scripture Reflections” and “The Catechumenate Process.”" The first will have stories about my own journey with the catechumenate (including how it was in the context of the catechumenate that I switched denominations). “Scripture Reflections” will include thoughts on the Sunday Lectionary Gospel passages. (Our Catechumenate spends our time in reflection on the Gospel passage when we meet on Thursday evenings.) “The Catechumenate Process” will be devoted to comments on the process and rites. And, again, I welcome feed back! I hope this will be a good way to get some lively discussion going.
Who is Catechumenate Guy? A person who was first introduced to the process while studying at the University of Notre Dame in the early ’80′s. A person who has been blessed to be able to minister at various levels and in various denominations in the catechumenate. A person who believes that the catechumenate has been a leaven for the church throughout her life. A person who ponders “matters catechumenal” and wants to reflect on these pages. A person who invites your reflections and comments as well.
More concretely: I was baptized as a Roman Catholic Christian infant and formed by Christian parents who took their baptismal covenant (even though they wouldn’t call it that) very seriously. I went to Mt. Angel Seminary in Oregon as a high school freshman and left after my sophomore year of college. I studied philosophy and history of religions at the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC). Rather than return to the seminary as I planned, I married and moved to Southern California. I decided to continue in the area of theology with the hope of teaching at a college, seminary or university. I focused on Scripture during a Master’s program at Claremont School of Theology and moved on to the University of Notre Dame to study systematic theology.
While at Notre Dame I was introduced to the catechumenate at our local parish. I enjoyed “adult education.” The catechumenate drew me in. After finishing studies at Notre Dame I became the first RCIA Director for the local Diocese of Ft Wayne-South Bend. I was also active in the North American Forum on the Catechumenate at this time. After a few years I became the first Executive Director of the National Council for Catholic Evangelization. I ministered at the parochial level on a catechumenate team at our local parish in Chicago.
We moved back to the West Coast in 1990 where I once again joined a catechumenate team at our parish. Ironically involvement in that team inspired my decision to cross over to the Episcopal branch of the Church. In 1995 I discovered that the Episcopal Church also exercises a catechumenal ministry. I am currently Catechumenate Director at Trinity Cathedral, Sacramento, California, a consultant for the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California, a board member on the North American Association for the Catechumenate and still a member of the North American Forum on the Catechumenate.
There are numerous stories associated with the above brief description of my journey. Some will emerge in the following reflections.