If, as Pope Francis says, the church is a field hospital, then what does it mean to care for the wounded and heal the wounds? What would we do first? Indeed, God sends all of us—especially catechists and teachers—to heal the world. And the first thing we have to do is this: proclaim that Jesus Christ saves us. This first proclamation heals the wounds of unbelievers, seekers, and believers alike.
Field Hospital Catechesis: The Core Content for RCIA Formation explores the nine core teachings of the church that make up this first proclamation. Readers will become catechists and evangelists equipped to bring healing to those around them by learning: how to shift from making name-only Catholics to making Catholic disciples; the first thing we have to say to seekers; a thoroughly Catholic understanding of evangelization; how what we teach and the way we teach heals the suffering of the world and the wounds of the seekers; Pope Francis's solution to what he sees as an urgent crisis in the world; the true vocation of a catechist and how to live it out; why only nine core teachings of the church should be the consistent focus of our catechesis; how the nine core teachings of the church tell the great story of our salvation.
This book will radically change the way you think about RCIA formation and the task of evangelization.
Nick Wagner is the cofounder of TeamRCIA.com, a training center for conversion and formation for lifelong discipleship. Through TeamRCIA.com, Nick and his wife and partner, Diana Macalintal, provide accessible, comprehensive training for RCIA teams in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Nick has been teaching and writing about the catechumenate, liturgy, and catechesis for more than 30 years. He is the author of Seek the Living God: Five RCIA Inquiry Questions for Making Disciples published by Liturgical Press.
In Field Hospital Catechesis, Nick Wagner uses Pope Francis' image of the Church as a "field hospital" to help us understand the catechumenate. Understanding the Church as a place of healing, aimed at the ailments at hand, reshapes the way we approach catechetical ministry. If we start our approach to the RCIA by attending to the needs of those in front of us, the joy of knowing God's love will shine through our ministry. Wagner gives us a practical guide in how to bring this central insight into our catechetical ministry, reminding us that, at its core, the proclamation of the Gospel is an encounter with the person of Jesus Christ.
Michael J. Martocchio, Director of the Office of Catechesis and Christian Initiation, Diocese of Charleston
Wagner's question-asking model tailors the experience to the needs of the seeker, allowing the RCIA leader to become less of a Catholic "expert" and more of a mentor or coach who helps guide the inquirer through their journey of gathering the information they need not only to join the Church, but to become lifelong disciples.
Nick Wagner has once again written a practical and insightful book for those directing or supporting the RCIA in a parish. This book provides RCIA teams and directors with a place to start, where to go and a good idea of what seekers need. Nick is a great storyteller and this book is rich with stories that enlighten and inform us. In particular, the parallel he draws between the demise of the steel industry and what we do in RCIA is thought provoking and accurate. The importance of the Kerygma is central to this book as Nick leads the reader through an uncomplicated core content focused on Jesus and aimed at making not just Catholics but "Catholic Disciples."
Cathy Marbury, Associate Director of Religious Education, Archdiocese of Atlanta
Starting from the ground up is just what Nick Wagner does in his newest book. Our RCIA processes have become encumbered by false understandings that the `program' needs to be a graduate course in theology, and not about a time of catechesis on changing hearts for living the life of a disciple of Christ: a process. So often our contemporary Church is lured away from the wisdom of lived experience by the newest and shiniest `program' on how to enliven our parishes. Nick starts with what the Church teaches, and he stays the course regarding his solid experience on presenting the richness of the RCIA process for changing hearts. Nick lays out the fact that the RCIA process is not about knowledge only, but about discipleship.
Dean Daniels, Office for Worship, Archdiocese of Milwaukee