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Diocese of Corpus Christi 

Welcome to the Diocese of Corpus Christi's landing page for Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Catechetical Institute!

This site will be developed in the near future with details on how your diocese wishes to make use of this collection of workshops.

We are so grateful and blessed that your diocese has chosen to partner with us in order to receive authentically Catholic resources that help to form those within your parish or school who are forming others. The catechists, RCIA teams, parish catechetical leaders, school teachers, and parents of your parish or school will have unlimited access to the Catechetical Institute’s online workshops in the comfort of their own homes.

The flexibility of the Catechetical Institute allows a diocese to choose the capacity in which to use these resources. Whether the diocese chooses to use the formation workshops as a part of the certification process or as on-going formation for their staff and volunteers, all the workshops available on our learning platform are available to every person.

The $300 subscription to the Catechetical Institute gives unlimited access to the members of your parish or school for an entire year. Whether your parish or school is made up of 25 or 2500 families, each individual can sign up for free under their parish or school at no additional cost.

If you have any questions, please contact us!

ci@franciscan.edu

740-283-6754
Franciscan University of Steubenville
1235 University Boulevard
Steubenville, Ohio 43952-1763

Learning Tracks

RCIA Certification
The Vision for Christian Initiation

What is our purpose and goal as ministers in the Church in an RCIA process?  To make new Catholics?  To spread the Gospel?  To run a good process?  Our purpose and goal must transcend the “how” of RCIA and begin with the “why.”  The restoration of the catechumenal process is a reflection of the Church’s wisdom in going back to a tried and true practice in order to lovingly bring people into her fold.  It is a restoration of grace for those who are seeking Christ and his one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.  This workshop inaugurates the necessary vision to develop excellent parish-based RCIA ministry, beginning with a call to trust the wisdom of Holy Mother Church in her discernment to gift the modern world with a way of Christian Initiation unparalleled in its beauty and power.  Only in the light of this trust and deep understanding of the RCIA process, as the Church intends it to be implemented, does the full purpose and potential of the initiation journey become clear and attainable.

It is into the great mystery of the Father’s saving love through Christ Jesus that all believers are called.  And it is this great mystery that all the institutions of the Church, each and every one of them, exist to serve. The RCIA has no other purpose than the service of the holy mystery, the saving sacrament, of Christ present and active in His living Body.  The renewal of the process of Christian initiation stands as one of the most important and successful features of modern liturgical renewal. Since its promulgation in 1972 and its further elaboration under the auspices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1988, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults has been among the most pastorally effective features of Catholic life in the United States.  And yet all is not well. The very fact that the challenge is conversion, the conforming of imperfect men and women to Christ, means that the process will never be perfect. Initiation is, after all, the beginning of a process which has its ending in eternity. However, there are problems that are more concrete and, for that reason, can more readily be corrected. In general, three models of RCIA are operative today in most Catholic parishes using the Rite. Each of the models conceives of, and practices, Christian initiation differently. This workshop describes these models, discussing their strengths and weaknesses in terms of catechetical, liturgical, and pastoral dimensions.  The result is clarity on how best the RCIA can serve the great work of immersing participants into Catholicism through a process of learning and interiorizing the sacred Scriptures, doctrines, sacraments, prayers, moral traditions, spiritual readings and rich communal culture of the Catholic Church, in order to serve the Father’s provident love in calling each soul to the living Body of Christ on earth.

From the ancient Nicene Creed we proclaim that “I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages.” The mystery of the second Person of the Trinity is the God who comes to us to save, redeem, instruct, give us hope and lead us to our promised glory.  He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  We do not have a God who is distant, but a God who comes to us in the most intimate way.  We enter into the mystery of Christ through a living Word, transforming sacramental grace, evangelizing catechesis, and evangelical communities.  This workshop will explore how a rich understanding of the means by which souls enter into Christ’s life can be fostered in our approaches to ministry. “The Word became flesh and dwelled among us” to call each soul to God’s loving plan and sure hope in Christ. This talk describes the means to participate in that life.

Liturgical Aspect of Christian Initiation

This workshop will explore the necessary connection of catechesis to the sacramental and liturgical life of the Church in our work as catechists.  The liturgy comes from the “living memory” of the Church, that is, the Holy Spirit.  Through the Holy Spirit working in the liturgy, the truths of the faith are passed on, like a special family memory, from generation to generation, to the present day.  Each time we participate in the liturgy we receive the treasure of the Deposit of Faith.  But the liturgy is more than a family heirloom – it is reality, the place in which “Christ Jesus works in fullness for the transformation of human beings” (CT 23).  As catechists, we have a call, the privilege of assuring that those we catechize understand and grow in appreciation for this encounter with God.  We bring others into God’s saving work in the liturgy so they too can become transformed by He who loves us fully.  We teach about the liturgy to pass on the magnificent inheritance of faith to the next generation, echoing the action of catechists from the centuries before us.

“. . . [T]he liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed;  it is also the fount from which all her power flows” (Second Vatican Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum concilium 10).  The liturgy proclaims, celebrates, and actualizes the Father’s loving plan for His people.  The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), or catechumenal process, has three aspects: liturgical, catechetical, and pastoral, of which liturgical is prime. The Church has designed these aspects to promote deep, long-lasting conversion to Christ and a love for the Church.  This workshop will focus on the stages of the modern catechumenal process, which derives directly from the ancient order of catechumens, and the way liturgical graces build and crescendo through the four periods of the RCIA process to make possible the plan of goodness born in the Father’s heart for each believer.

Catechetical Aspect of Christian Initiation

“That which was from the beginning...that which we have seen and heard we proclaim to you...” (1 John 1:1, 4).  St. John Paul II proclaimed that, “The definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy, with Jesus Christ…” (Catechesi Tradendae, 5)  The work of catechesis is not just “education,” but “intimacy with Christ.”  God wants to make Himself known, to communicate His own Divine life to us and make us capable of responding to Him.  God gradually “pulls back the veil” by words and deeds, but especially in Jesus Christ, the mediator and fullness of all revelation.  By His revelation, God has answered all the questions of the human condition. God wants all to be saved, so he arranged that His revelation remain in its entirety and be transmitted to all generations.  This workshop focuses on the apostolic work of passing on the truths of the faith in an organic and systematic way.  This is done to make disciples of Christ and to initiate them into the fullness of Christian life through an encounter with the communion of believers and with Christ the teacher. “The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends” (CCC 25).

What is the role of an evangelizing catechesis in the catechumenal process?  St. John Paul II tells us, “Adult catechesis is the principle form of catechesis, because it is addressed to persons who have the greatest responsibilities and the capacity to live the Christian message in its fully developed form.” (Catechesi Tradendae, 43)  This workshop will explore adult catechesis within the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.  Each period of the RCIA process has a distinctive catechetical objective in serving the Holy Spirit’s work of conversion, so each period of the RCIA should have a different “feel.”  The Rite itself gives us the guidelines for what RCIA participants need to know, and what we need to teach, thereby allowing the catechetical aspect of Christian Initiation to become more than merely information or teachings of tenets, but an entree into an eternal embrace, a love beyond all telling

Knowing and understanding Scripture is essential in the life of a catechist. This workshop will explore how God’s Word, transmitted in Sacred Scripture, grounds and deepens our relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church. In Scripture, we see the sweeping Plan of God, the history of salvation unfolded. We hear His stunning and steadfast invitation to communion with Him. Sacred Scripture ought to permeate all forms of catechesis, as well as our personal lives as catechists. Through creating lesson plans saturated with the Scriptures, we foster a profound encounter with the Divine – love and challenge, wisdom and hope, forgiveness and mercy, and the means to know God and to know ourselves. By breaking open the Scriptures in each catechetical session, we unlock the mystery of Christ, revealing to those we teach the One they desire to know, fostering life-changing intimacy with God.

Pastoral Aspect of Christian Initiation

St. Therese of Lisieux joyfully exulted that, “If the Church was a body composed of different members, it couldn't lack the noblest of all; it must have a Heart, and a Heart BURNING WITH LOVE. And I realized that this love alone was the true motive force which enabled the other members of the Church to act; if it ceased to function, the Apostles would forget to preach the gospel, the Martyrs would refuse to shed their blood. LOVE, IN FACT, IS THE VOCATION WHICH INCLUDES ALL OTHERS; IT'S A UNIVERSE OF ITS OWN, COMPRISING ALL TIME AND SPACE - IT'S ETERNAL!” (CCC 826, emphasis in original).  We know that this love is the golden thread that binds all we believe, it is the aching in the hearts of those who knock on the door of the Church.  It is the Holy Spirit that gives us truth to speak in gentleness and clarity, as well as the life-giving concern that reaches out sacrificially, generously to broken souls around us.  It is the love that makes us adopted sons and daughters instead of beggars at the door.  It is our beginning and our gifted destiny.  It is why St. Augustine wrote; “our hearts are restless, until they rest in You.”  This workshop delves into the vital nature of the love of brethren that is to be the mark of any community calling others to join Christ’s Body.

Pope Paul VI reminds us that the first Christians “were fully conscious of belonging to a large community which neither space nor time can limit: From the just Abel to the last elect, indeed to the ends of the earth, to the end of time” (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 61).  The RCIA process is to be a nursery of conversion.  Many neophytes who do not stay with the Church leave not for lack of knowledge, but for lack of care.  The pastoral aspect of the RCIA process is as vital as the liturgical and catechetical.  The pastoral work of moving participants from their initial motivation to firmer conviction involves facilitating a desire for “more.” Their longing for more is often accompanied by the difficulties of pain, confusion, misery, grief, or humiliation. When this longing is identified, it is possible for eyes to be opened and hearts to be softened; nevertheless they remain aching and weak until grace is strengthened in them.  The pastoral components are the people who participate, some intimately and others from a distance, in Jesus’ graced work of conversion and discipleship. It is the surpassing calling of becoming a gift to other souls, and receiving others freely as a gift from the Lord.  This workshop addresses how the pastoral aspect of the RCIA process leads us to be sacrificial witnesses, the Lord’s chosen means to authenticate and demonstrate the power of his saving message to all people and all cultures.

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