WASHINGTON (August 18, 1997) -- The U.S. Bishops' Committee on Evangelization has launched a three-year study of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).
"The Evangelization Committee wants to look at any obstacles which inquirers may encounter as they begin their journey towards baptism or reception into our church," said Archbishop Michael Sheehan, Chairman of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) Committee on Evangelization.
"We have much to celebrate in the new life which has come into the Church through the RCIA," said Archbishop Sheehan. "We look forward to the results of this study so that we can learn from 11 years of experience how we can further enhance the process of initiation into our community of faith."
The RCIA was introduced into the Catholic Church in the United States in 1974 and church officials expected to study the rite in 1994. Such a study never took place.
The study will be coordinated by Paulist Father John Hurley, Special Assistant of the U.S. Bishops' Office for Evangelization, who will lead the RCIA Evaluative Study Task Force. Task Force members will include representatives of the NCCB and U.S. Catholic Conference offices for Catechism, Doctrine, Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Education, Liturgy, Missions, and Pastoral Practice. The North American Forum on the Catechumenate also will participate in this endeavor.
The evaluative process will consist of two parts, a regional survey and a regional consultation process. Consultation will involve diocesan leadership and 14 parish RCIA teams from six areas of the country: Chicago, New York/New Jersey, the Northwest, Southern California, Louisiana and Washington, D.C. The survey will be conducted in 1997.
In 1998 there will be six one-day consultations with diocesan ministry coordinators and parish RCIA teams around the country.
In 1999, survey results will be analyzed by Dean Hoge, Ph.D., of the Life Cycle Institute of The Catholic University of America, and shared with Church organizations.