Looking forward to RCIA, I used the website for the parish to send an e-mail to Tim, the Director of their program. For once, since my inquiry over a year ago into becoming Catholic, I was excited.
I would like to join the RCIA classes. When do they begin/take place? How do I participate?
~~Thank you, Jane Jimenez
It was wonderful to see Tim’s prompt response come back to me on the same day in my Inbox! No more long delays and echo chambers. Finally, things were coming together…at long last! I opened his message with great anticipation.
Date: September 3, 2014
Hi Jane, We have been meeting for over a month now, and unfortunately, the sessions for this year are now closed. If you have any other questions, please let me know.
~~In Christ, Tim
I took a deep breath. Closed? How could you close RCIA? My brain was frozen. I used my fingers for counting to make certain I kept my focus. Six months…Easter, 2015…then twelve months…Easter, 2016. In the parish of my choice, I could enter the church in 2016, eighteen months from today. In total, from RCIA v.1 through RCIA v.5…altogether it would take 31 months from my first inquiry… more than two years …for me to become Catholic.
Loosing all sight of charity, in my usual “loose cannon” fashion, I fired off an immediate e-mail response.
Tim, forgive me an unholy moment of impertinence…How does God, how does Jesus, how does Mary…how does St. Maximilian, my saint…close the registration list on entering the Church of Christ?
You invited “other questions.” This is the only one that comes to mind at this moment. It is more rhetorical than real, so don’t feel compelled to answer. Don’t worry about juggling your plans. I don’t know what God has in store for me. I await His lead.
Thanks for your prompt and frank response, Jane
I still couldn’t breath. Too many converts?! All this…while I had been worried about baptism, marriage, and sex with my husband? Forget all of those minor issues! The parish I had chosen because of its reverence in mass was just too busy to handle one more convert. If I had had comments two months ago for the Pope about the new evangelization, my list of comments was now unreadable.
Date: September 3, 2014
Hi Jane, We advertised for RCIA for 4 months in the bulletin, on the website, and from the pulpit announcements. To answer your question, the sessions are closed for this year, not forever. If you desire to enter the Catholic Church next year, sessions will be available. How long have you been coming to the parish?
~~In Him, Tim
I wanted to reach through the computer, grab Tim by the collar and yell, “In Him???? Who the heck is Him???? It sure as heck can’t be Jesus! I don’t remember one place in the New Testament where Jesus said He had no more room for sinners!”
This was definitely not the best frame of mind from which to compose an e-mail to Tim and every blasted priest of the parish. Never one to hold back, though, I pounded the keys. If I offended anyone, I would have eighteen months to beg forgiveness.
Tim…Father Walter…all the priests…and God…Jesus…Pope Francis…and everyone…
I write only with the greatest respect for your love of Christ and his Church. When I attended last Sunday’s mass, I was so moved by the reverence and tenderness given to worship.
How long have I been coming to the parish? How long had Peter’s converts been following Christ – But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say…
At the end of Peter’s exhortation…to the First Converts…
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” [Acts of the Apostles]
I know, with all of your years of seminary and ABCD’s, you will have an answer for this and every other question I might pose. My simple guess is that Peter received those who received Christ.
I send this with much pain attached. Yes, I confess I am not in a gentle state of Christian humility at this moment either.
I do not know where Christ is leading me at this time. I am the sole Christian in my present world seeking entry into the Catholic Church. Most of my immediate world is agnostic. Those who are Christian are either ex-Catholic or hostile/resistant to Catholicism.
You, meanwhile, are in good company with other Catholic Fathers and leaders who insist that I was amiss in my desire to be baptized and in my desire to enter the church sooner rather than later. You are, however, the first to suggest that 2015 is “closed” and that I should set my sights on 2016.
I am 63 – 43 years of ambivalence and agnosticism followed by 20 years of Christian faith leading me to Rome. Yet…here I sit, writing you this note. I am supposed to “prove myself” – the state of my faith and the fullness of my understanding of faith in Christ. I am supposed to prove this to you, as if offering a pedigree to deem me worthy to “be considered for” entry into the true Church of Christ.
As a writer…I am venting general frustrations from the past year that have come together in this most recent communication re RCIA.
I trust that you love Christ. You certainly love his Church. But do you love the sinners who share the neighborhood with your parish? I am one of them.
Catholics fed by your reverence for Christ in the Mass are truly blessed. Those who meet your time schedule in RCIA will, no doubt, flourish in your parish. I still seek a parish on the banks of the Jordan, one simple soul in a crowd longing to be baptized and taught by a “John the Baptist” who calls us to repentance and welcomes us without delay.
May the Father, Son and Holy Spirit richly bless your ministry!
In Christ, Jane Jimenez
21 When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
22 I was stupid and ignorant;
I was like a brute beast toward you.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me with honor.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire other than you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. [Psalm 73:21-26]
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