Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
June 18, 2001
RCIA should transform lives — priest
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — RCIA is not simply about making Catholics, but about bringing people to communion, says Father Gerry Copeman.
The question for people involved in leading the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is: "How do we get the community to be the revelation of what the rite signifies?"
"We might have the ritual, we might have the faith, but the challenge is to bring them together."
Copeman, a priest of Sault St. Marie Diocese, spoke at the annual Western Conference for the Catechumenate at the Grey Nun's Regional Centre June 8-10.
Proper celebration of the liturgical rituals that are part of the RCIA "should bring about transformation in the lives of the people," Copeman said to more than 50 people representing parishes from British Columbia to Manitoba at the conference.
Rituals are outward signs but doing the rites right speaks volumes about what is inside, he said.
"As believers we teach what we have come to believe. The same should be manifested with the way we celebrate.
"When we celebrate well, God becomes touchable through the signs and symbols that allow people to encounter God," said Copeman.
"When rites are celebrated well, the experience of God is enfleshed, so it is more than a personal encounter."
The annual conference has been held for the past 11 years to help people in leading parish RCIA groups. The conference facilitates exchange of ideas and experiences among lay and ordained ministers involved in RCIA.
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