The celebration of a couple’s love on the day of their wedding leads naturally to many days of personal rejoicing as they begin to live together as husband and wife. The days of their honeymoon give them time to look back in appreciation for all that brought them together and to experience and reflect on their first days of married love. Similarly in the RCIA the newly initiated begin to experience the blessings of their first days and weeks as fully initiated Catholics. Like a newly married couple, they continue to need the support of relatives and friends as they journey onward and begin discerning their own call to be sent in Jesus’ name to witness to the Gospel.
The seven weeks of Easter time, from Easter Sunday to Pentecost, form the fourth and final step in the RCIA process. This step is titled mystagogy. The name comes from the Greek and refers to the profound and joyous “mystery” of living life fully aware that Jesus is Lord. The newly initiated are called neophytes (from the Greek for “new believers”).
On each of the Sundays of Easter time, the Church presents scriptures which tell the wondrous Stories of how the disciples were convinced of their call and power to proclaim the victory of Jesus. From the experience of Pentecost onward, they traveled forth announcing the good news of Christ’s presence in every step of life’s journey. It is this sense of “mission ” that culminates the RCIA process. Having become a follower of Jesus, the newly baptized Christian is called to spread the good news of Christ’s life and message.
During the days of Easter time new Catholics are invited to share the joys of their Easter faith with the parish family. During this time Sponsors, Catechists and Parishioners offer assistance to the new Catholics as each one continues his or her formation in the Christian life. For a year following Pentecost, the neophytes meet monthly in their parishes. In this way they can support one another as they deepen their faith commitment. In the years ahead as parishes throughout the world wholeheartedly embrace the four steps of the RCIA journey, the newly baptized as well as those Catholics who are longtime members of the Church will discover within their hearts an ever increasing desire to truly live and proclaim the Gospel message. As this happens, the lives of these twentieth century disciples will speak boldly and lovingly the truth of Jesus’ promise of healing and hope for all the world.