Jesus said as he dined in the house of Zacchaeus the tax collector, “The Son of man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Each disciple of Christ can look back on his or her life and see the moments where God has visited, strengthened and enlightened — all for the sake of inviting him or her into a deeper relationship with himself.
What about those who did not grow up Catholic, have had no faith in their lives or who grew up Christian but without the Eucharist and other sacraments? God pursues each soul who is separated from him and never tires of extending personal invitations to live in relationship with him.
This is the inspiration behind the development of the Year-Round Precatechemenate. Jesus on the cross thirsted for each soul separated from God, and the Office of Sacred Worship wants to equip Churches to receive these persons into the OCIA at any time. If God is desiring a relationship with an individual who is growing in awareness of him in his or her life and a Church responds, “Call back in September when OCIA starts,” God’s love has not been fully communicated.
By nature, the Period of Evangelization and Precatechumenate (also called Inquiry) is ongoing, done in community, always accessible and led by the Holy Spirit (OCIA 36, 38). The purpose is to proclaim the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ, invite persons to follow him along the pathway of discipleship and assist them as they deepen their conversion and purify their intentions. This is done through the sharing of the kerygma, the essential proclamation of the faith. The kerygma is outlined in Unleash the Gospel as 1) The loving plan of God for human beings, 2) Sin and its devastating consequences, especially separation from God, 3) God’s answer to our predicament in the sending of his Son for our salvation, 4)The response this gift calls for from every person: to repent of our sins, believe in Jesus and be baptized, so we can be filled with his Holy Spirit and live a new life in his family, the Church. (Marker 2.2)
What does it look like for these elements — growing in community, inquiry always accessible, and defined content — to come together? The Office of Sacred Worship makes available 42 session outlines based on Sacred Scripture that spiral in their content so that participants can enter at any time without having to “make up” sessions they did not attend. Each session outlines the kerygma in its entirety and emphasizes one particular aspect in a repeating cycle so that new participants will receive the Gospel message in its fullness and continuing participants can deepen in conversion. The first six sessions systematically outline the four points of the kerygma, then the remaining 36 sessions use Old Testament narratives paired with a Gospel account to proclaim the Good News of creation, the reality of sin, Salvation in Jesus Christ, the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Church and eternal life.
Each session ends with a particular invitation for participants to answer the call of Jesus in their lives, and to pray the following prayer in their hearts:
Lord Jesus, I confess that I have done wrong and failed to do right.
I ask you to be my savior, my guide, and my friend.
I invite your Holy Spirit to enlighten my mind and transform my heart.
I ask for your help to be obedient to You and live in communion with your Church.
I here and now answer your call to follow you.
Once an individual has made a commitment to follow Jesus Christ, he or she can look forward to the next time the parish celebrates the Rite of Entrance to the Catechumenate or Rite of Acceptance.
To view OCIA resources from the Office of Sacred Worship, including the Year-Round Precatechumenate Curriculum please visit OCIA Resources - EGW (egwdetroit.org).