Post # 1
Last night I went to my first RCIA class to convert to Catholicism. My SO and I are getting engaged very soon and we want to be of the same faith.
The deacon who taught the RCIA is a very nice person who teaches at multiple Catholic universities and churches in the area. I really like him as a person and he’s great one on one. But his class feels like a university lecture. There are only three people in the class, including me, and it feels like he just talks at us the whole time. I know very little about scripture so referencing it without points of reference to current life really doesn’t work for me.
My SO put it best when he said I’m learning a lot of things that are much easier to teach to children. Children don’t question in the complicated ways a grown adult does. He thinks I’ll have trouble with this no matter who teaches it. I feel like I would at least like to enjoy being there.
I really want to switch to another class at a different local parish with a priest I know from volunteer service in the community. He has a gift for connecting with people and also a beautiful parish we enjoy going to. I would love to get married there and I think it’s likely we will.
My dilemma is that I feel awful ditching out on the deacon’s class. He keeps telling me he’s so happy I’m there, that my SO’s mother loves me a lot (she’s very active in the church) and he knows God sent me there. He only has three people in his class, too.
What should I say when I make the choice to move on? It might be as simple as saying I have to do this over here because we’re getting married in this parish, but I’m the sort of person who has things written all over my face. I don;t feel like it’s fair not to explain in a diplomatic way that I learn better in different ways.
What do you all think?
Post # 3
I’m sorry you’re having a hard time with the deacon! I also just started RCIA, we’ve had two classes. At first I was just unsure about the whole thing because I didn’t know the leaders – we have our priest, his assistant and a woman who teaches theology for three of us (overkill!) so its a bit overwhelming.
But I wanted to tell you that the deacon would probably be pretty receptive to tailoring the class to you since there are three of you. Maybe you should try talking to him first, before you just leave. I noticed even between our first and second class the direction/method has changed to become more personal. It helps when you share your stories/reasons for being there, and ask alot of questions. FI comes with me as my sponsor, so between the two of us we just ask questions through the night and it takes the class in the direction we’re interested in and they’re pretty happy we participate.
Maybe a note might be an easier way to share your thoughts with the deacon? He is there to guide you, and maybe if he doesn’t know you well he isn’t sure how to take the class so he just uses his usual way. I think its a bit early to give up! Though I understand your desire to learn with the priest who might marry you – it feels pretty special I’m sure. This is also a chance for you to develop a new relationship and perspective. Is there a reason you chose this parish over the other parish with the priest you know? Perhaps spend some time with FI’s mom or even ask her to come to a class to support you and it will give her a chance to share her story and thoughts?
I’m happy for you to be going on this journey! If you ever want someone to chat with going through the program, feel free to PM me 🙂
Post # 4
Definitely talk to the deacon and ask him if he can weave some interaction and some day-to-day examples in with the cerebral stuff. As a teacher, it’s really important to get feedback from students on whether or not they are connecting with you – and I’m sure everyone in the class would benefit, not just you.
Maybe if you are nervous approaching him about it yourself, talk to the other RCIA participants? It might be easier for all of you to approach him together, and it will help him to see that he needs to adjust his approach for everyone’s sake, not just for one person.
Post # 5
@bella128: Hi! Good to see someone else also on this journey. How long have they told you it would take? The Deacon’s classes go for two years, which seems like a long time to me. It’s only twice a month but it still seems like a long time.
I’m sure the Deacon would be receptive to tailoring the class, but I think it’s likely we’ll end up getting married at the other parish. In the town where we live, the Catholic parishes are pretty intervoven with each other. Much of this has to do with the popularity of the Catholic school system here. Our public schools are horrible so even non-Catholic families seek out Catholic education as an affordable alternative.
The deacon serves at least four of the parishes right now. He’s at the parish where my SO’s mother is so active which is the church my SO grew up in (went to school, was an altar boy, etc.). That’s not the church where the classes are, which is the church where a bunch of my friends are members. I believe the only parish where the deacon does not practice is the one where we will be getting married, most likely.
I signed up with the deacon because he has a relationship with my SO and his family and he’s very into RCIA. But the priest who will likely marry us also has a relationship with them.
@KCKnd2: I think I will approah him and let him know that I don;t understand what he’s talking about when he just quotes scripture.
Post # 6
@RedAngelDreamer: There are a few bees on the journey with us this year 🙂 Our classes run from October to the Easter Vigil (we are being married in May) just for this year – it’s faster than I expected. We meet twice a month for about 2.5 hours following the short evening mass (last time there were about 10 people there). Our classes start with a prayer, a short reading from an introductory text they gave us, and then the rest of the time we just discuss things and ask questions. Some of it is concrete stuff, like “tell me about the rosary and how to use it” and then there’s stuff like “how did you become a priest and why” or “what do you hope to gain from coming here?” The leaders like to talk alot and there are three of them so its more of a discussion than a lecture. I’m the opposite of you, I’m more an academic and grew up in the church so I’m interested in the historical and ritual differences between Christian denominations… I’d prefer a lecture sometimes I think but I can see how that would be boring. Our classes end with a last round of comments/questions and then a prayer and we go home.
Maybe, with the nature of your town’s church group you can switch without causing a rift by saying you’d like to develop a relationship with the priest who will be marrying you? Or have you talked to him? Maybe he has suggestions and it sounds like he knows the Deacon. Perhaps your two small groups can join up once in a while, if the town is close-knit.
I’d love to have an RCIA buddy if you want to keep up chatting with each other! I don’t really have anyone at home to talk about it with other than Fiance.
Post # 7
@bella128: Yes, please be my RCIA buddy! I also don’t really have anyone in real life to speak about it.
Are you using the text called This is Our Faith? That sounds very similar to the format we have.
When we were at church this past Sunday, my SO pulled aside the priest we like and whispered in his ear. I have a feeling he told him we’d be there to visit him soon because he’s proposing very soon. I just love going to his parish because we feel so welcome! He hugged my SO when he was walking down the aisle after the service. I love that he’s always so emotional with people.
So I think we’ll likely just resolve this after we get engaged in the next few days. I know this priest is very eager to grow his congregation so it’s likely I will be able to get into his RCIA classes, which are on the same time scale (Oct. to Easter).
The deacon made a comment that he doesn’t think that people should just be able to become Catholic just like that, that he thinks people should have to work for it. So that’s why his program is so long. I disagree with this a lot. I can see his point of view as a person with multiple advanced degrees who teaches college level theology. But I do not think that is a good policy for a church looking to grow and welcome in new members.
I’d like to know what he does when he gets students who are not literate. He speaks fluent Spanish, so that’s not an issue, but a lot of people who come to this town from Mexico are not particularly literate in general.
Post # 8
Your RCIA classes last for 2 by years?? Mine started September 20th til April 11th. And we meet every Thursday evening.
Post # 9
@RedAngelDreamer: The book we’re using is “The Heart of Faith” – its teenie tiny lol I’m not sure how its going to last so many months. I’m so glad you feel welcome with your priest 🙂 it makes it feel more ilke family.
Are you going to switch leaders? Honestly, the 2 year thing seems long and the Deacon seems like a bit of a stickler. I can understand where he’s coming from but that’s a huge commitment. As far as the literacy thing – does he make you study/read? I can see that being an issue.
So, random comment. We were in mass today and a baby was baptised. FI said “see, I get you lift you up and the priest will pour water over your head just like the baby”… haha ok so he’s joking… right? LOL But I’m just curious if you’ve talked with your group about exactly what is required and what we participate in and how the actual initiation stuff happens…?
Post # 10
@amberdk: Yeah, TWO YEARS! I think that’s just crazy. It looks like I’m going to be switching to the other church anyway. I believe theirs is Oct. to Easter so hopefully the priest will let me get in late this year.
@bella128: Yeah, I am going to switch. 99% certain. It’s either today, tomorrow or Tuesday that my SO is proposing, so we’ll talk about it after that. I think it might be tonight but I don;t know for sure.
The deacon IS a stickler!! It’s annoying.
If the church doesn’t have a large baptismal pool, I’m not sure what they do! They might pour water over your head! Haha, never thought about it. I was baptised in the Lutheran church, so I don;t have to do that.
Post # 11
Gosh that’s crazy and I can’t blame ya for switching.
i always read that when we get baptised, we just lean over the fountain thing, and he pours the holy water on us. Not too sure which way we bend though lol!