By Alasdair Akass - May 6th, 2022 | Posted in Article No comments

I’m really grateful for the help, guidance, and knowledge that’s been imparted to me through the RCIA sessions, kindly – sometimes with lightness and humour – and always with a reassuring sense of authority and wisdom. It has felt, to me, like a gentle leading – a bringing on in faith, and questioning and understanding, if you like. I’ve been fortunate that several very experienced Catechists have provided this catechesis – Christians I can relate to, and ones I’ve come to trust.

I’ve benefitted so much from the conversation and discussion that the Catechists themselves have had, between them, as they have provided the course. Listening to them, sometimes quietly and sometimes with me adding my thoughts and questions, has above all been a gentle process. And that gentle but meaningful guidance has been what I’ve needed. It’s reminded me of the gentleness of Christ, His patience, His concern for my wellbeing, His love, His calling. And that’s been right for me. I’m coming from a different Christian tradition, and one which I have cause still to value very much. But this calling to the Catholic tradition has been compelling and persuasive. I like the beauty, the mystery, the all-encompassing quality, the historicism, the Scriptural authority, and the Tradition, which has been so carefully explained to me, through the Abingdon RCIA. And the sense I’ve got from it is that we’re on a journey – together.

This has been my second experience of an RCIA course – the first was from another part of the country – and it’s been my second carried out virtually by Zoom. I suppose you could say I wasn’t ready, that first time, to take the next step. This time I think I am. After all, while life may be a race that we’re set to run – and enjoy, as a means to develop a relationship with Christ – you need the right shoes to ensure you can run it. This time, I feel I’ve worn in my shoes so that they’re now more comfortable, and I feel I can run in them much better than before.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely. The ‘Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults’ can perhaps sound intimidating, especially to someone who feels they’re still trying to work out what’s the right path, and how and why the Catholic tradition might be similar to and different from those of other Christian denominations. And also to someone who has come from another Christian tradition which seems perhaps less structured than Roman Catholicism and – frankly – less directly connected to the establishment of that first Christian Church in the time of Christ Himself on earth. I think what the Abingdon RCIA has most brought home to me is a sense of being more connected to those times, and to other Christians across time and space. And I hope it’ll feel like a coming home when I take the next step shortly at Easter.