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RCIA program launches online network

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Coordinators hope new portal will help them overcome isolation
By Agnieszka Krawczynski

Photo: RCIA coordinators and volunteers are looking forward to the launch of a new online network (Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic)

The Archdiocese of Vancouver says RCIA coordinators who help hundred of adults enter the Catholic Church each year are feeling alone and unsupported, so a new network is being rolled out to connect them as they serve in the Church.

The Rite of Christian Initiation Adults program helped hundreds of adults get baptized and become Catholic last year, but it seems “a lot of coordinators are feeling isolated,” said Matthew Martin, archdiocesan Ministries and Outreach program coordinator.

Martin has been tasked with finding out how to best revamp the RCIA program. Over the last nine months, he said he’s been surprised at how many coordinators feel disconnected.

“I know what it feels like to be in small ministries with almost zero budget, with a small team, and trying to maintain a ministry throughout the year without a lot of appreciation or visibility,” Martin told about 50 coordinators, pastors, and deacons at an RCIA social April 28.

“It can be tiring. It can be stressful. It can also be very meaningful and joyful.”

To help them feel connected, Martin announced the launch of an RCIA leaders network, an online portal to share resources and feel part of a bigger picture.

“We are not done with our spiritual journey even while we are helping others walk on theirs. We need companionship,” he said.

Conchita Bambilla, a RCIA coordinator at St. Patrick’s Parish in Vancouver, is excited about the new online network.

“I think this will be very helpful to the coordinators, especially for those who are first-time coordinators, because it will provide them with concrete guidelines and materials to use,” she said.

By networking, “you can hear stories from other RCIA coordinators. If you don’t know what to do, you can learn from that.”

This is Bambilla’s first year as an RCIA coordinator, but she is not new to the program. Prior to joining St. Patrick’s, she was a presenter for seven years in St. Andrew’s Parish.

She thinks online communication will also be helpful for long-time coordinators, some of whom have been at it for as many as 20 years. “It’s always a learning process, no matter how many years you’re in a program. There are always new things that come out.”

The online network, which will be rolled out in phases, will connect more than 50 RCIA coordinators from 45 parishes to each other and to archdiocesan staff and resources.

Martin also wants the coordinators to meet face-to-face four times a year to build a stronger sense of community.

Jane Waldock, chairwoman of the RCIA steering committee, is excited to start using the network.

“By connecting with each other we will be able to share the joys and trials of RCIA ministry. We will be able to share successes and challenges, support each other, learn from each other, and open up the lines of communication that will allow the Holy Spirit flow to through all parish ministries.”

Photo: Matthew Martin (right) chats with Jane Waldock at a social event after he announced the launch of a new online portal for RCIA coordinators. (Agnieszka Krawczynski / The B.C. Catholic)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 May 2017 13:15  

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