The catechumenate is animated by trust. Seekers have to trust in new, barely rooted faith. Seekers also need to have trust in parish ministers who will guide them on the way. Parish ministers need to have trust in their Spirit-given gifts. Most importantly, all involved in the RCIA process need to have trust in the church's normative formation practice-Scripture and tradition mediated through the gradual encounter with Christ in the celebration of the liturgical year.
Eliot Kapitan makes it easier for each to trust. With gentle wisdom, he presents an ordered method for preparing the period of the catechumenate Sunday by Sunday, season by season, liturgical year by liturgical year. If you have ever lacked confidence in your ability to lead the seekers on the way of faith, this book will help you trust that you already have all the skills and resources you need.
Eliot Kapitan oversaw the baptismal catechumenate and liturgy in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois for many years. He was a team member with the North American Forum on the Catechumenate and active in the regional and national work of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions. In retirement, he still thinks and writes and talks about these essential topics. He and his wife, Jacqueline, now grandparents, live in Springfield, Illinois.
Unfolding the Mystery of Christ is a fantastic new resource for all who care about the process of initiating new Christians. It spreads before the reader the exciting, life-giving adventure which Initiation should be, not only for the catechumens, but for catechists, sponsors, other parish ministers, and the entire parish. Few people can bring to this topic the depth of experience and wisdom that Eliot Kapitan brings to this book. Even fewer people can bring catechesis and liturgy together harmoniously the way Kapitan does. Richly documented yet very practical, this book is a must-read for Initiation teams and clergy.
Rev. Michael Connors, CSC, University of Notre Dame
Eliot Kapitan's considerable experience, knowledge-and love-of the RCIA come to bear in Unfolding the Mystery of Christ. The vision he presents is at once faithful to the Church's mission of forming disciples of Jesus Christ and a challenge to delve more deeply into the catechetical process. I am especially grateful for the practical strategies he offers and I look forward to using this book to inspire catechists in my diocese!
Jonathan F. Sullivan, Director of Parish Ministries, Services, and Catechesis, Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana
Informational. Inspirational. Practical. Eliot is so knowledgeable about all aspects of the RCIA and explains formation in a way that can be understood and appreciated by the novice to the seasoned catechist. This is a resource that I will return to again and again. All will want this book in their library.
Sue A. Huett, Director, Department of Pastoral Services and Office of Worship, Diocese of Belleville
The great gift of this book is that it has been written by someone with decades of parish and diocesan experience. Its conversational style draws the reader in and encourages effective habits among RCIA team members and parish communities. In Part One, Kapitan lays a firm foundation with an authentic vision of the RCIA, substantiated by the Church's documents and liturgical texts. Chapter Four offers an impressive history of the Church's major catechetical texts and the methods they have endorsed. In Part Two, he examines common errors in parish practice, yet offers practical solutions and effective catechetical preparations based upon Scripture. Throughout, he cites "helpful resources" for every issue, including annotated bibliographies. This book should be mandatory reading for all who journey with catechumens and candidates.
Rita A. Thiron, Executive Director, FDLC
Eliot's genuine concern for and love of the RCIA comes through in this work. With its blend of personal witness, teachings of the Church, and very practical suggestions and models, this text would benefit any parish's initiation ministry. You will come away from it not only with the inspiration to want to do better for those who participate in the RCIA, but also equipped to do so. Thank you for this wonderful gift!
Matthew Miller, Director, Office of Worship, Diocese of Evansville