If your Council has not yet implemented an “RCIA to Knights” program you should start planning to do so NOW!
RCIA is the “Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults.” Each year, candidates are carefully instructed on the tenants of the Catholic faith so they can join fully in our religion at the Easter Vigil Mass. The men who participate in this program have spent months preparing for entry into Catholicism. Doesn’t it make sense that we Brother Knights should offer to help them to continue their faith journey by inviting them to be surrounded by other men or action and of faith? They should become Brothers in the Knights of Columbus to solidify their connection to Holy Mother, the Church.
The Association for Catechumenal Ministry list has published “5 Reasons People Don’t Stick” (to the Faith after RCIA).
1. People are not brought from their initial motivation to full conviction.
The article explains that new Catholics may be rushed and basically need to be shepherded longer in order to fully commit to Catholicism. The Knights of Columbus, with its emphasis on Building the Domestic Church (strengthening the Faith within each family) will provide the additional shepherding that will fully integrate a man into the Catholic Church.
2. A lack of pastoral care during the Neophyte year and beyond.
After six to nine months of instruction and training, a newly initiated Catholic man may be left on his own. Once again, the K of C offer the support a freshly initiated man needs. He is asked to join a group of Brothers who pray together, who serve both Church and Community, and who offer a strong social network rooted in Faith.
3. The RCIA team does not adequately represent the makeup of the parish.
The average parishioner in the pew may not seem as welcoming and accepting as did the members of the RCIA team. By joining the Knights, a man will often be affirmed, thanked, and welcomed – especially if he becomes involved with spiritual and service activities.
4. They do not become liturgical people.
New Catholics may not have had enough time to develop a love for the Mass that many of our Brother Knights have embraced. Be sure to invite your new Brothers to pray with you, side-by-side, at Corporate Communion and at other prayer services. Help him to cherish the Church!
5. They don’t get the Deposit of Faith delivered to them.
New Catholic men may have learned the lessons taught but may not yet have seen the big picture of how the Faith can nourish and sustain them (especially in times of need). Let your Council give our new Catholics multiple ways to be men of Faith and men of action.
Yes! Your Council can help these new Catholics to be “Anchored in Faith” in so many ways. Brother Knights who become involved in our service programs become better fathers, brothers, and sons. Basically, they become better men. We should feel an obligation to offer the support that our Councils have to offer to men as soon as possible.
So how can you catch their interest and get these men to Join our Order?
* Ask for permission to show a membership video to the RCIA class before their initiation. Give a brief explanation of what your Council can do to help men (and their families) to grow spiritually and socially.
* Give all candidates (men, women, and children) a rosary and the flyer “How to Pray the Rosary.” Then host a Rosary prayer service with a reception for RCIA candidates and their families after the Rosary. Hold a round table discussion focused on how the Rosary fosters spirituality.
* Perhaps your Council could sponsor a dinner or a breakfast for those who are involved in RCIA. Best practice: host an Easter Vigil lunch or dinner.
*Invite men (and others) in RCIA to be guests at one of your Council “Fish Frys” or “Lenten Soup Kitchens” or a Lenten prayer service organized by Knights. You may even invite them to pitch in and help at one of these events to allow them to feel the satisfaction of service.
So, make your plans NOW! How will your Council help our new Catholics next Easter season? Keep in mind that offering membership in the Knights of Columbus is a win-win situation. First, and most important, we will be supporting new Catholics in ways that will solidify their ties to the Church. Second, when the men of RCIA become Knights, your Council gains men who have already shown by hours of instruction and training that are willing to put time and effort into a worthy cause.
Please take the opportunity to utilize an excellent potential source for new Knights. If RCIA is instructed at your parish, what better setting to encourage men to strengthen their faith than membership in the Knights. Additionally, you will probably be recruiting some younger members.
Here are some tips:
Develop a relationship with the RCIA team
Ask for permission to address the group
Develop a short lesson plan about advantages of becoming a member
Make a video/slide show of members and their families working prior events
Ensure you communicate that K of C encourages family participation
Request prospects to volunteer (family included) in upcoming events
Always have pamphlets, interest cards, etc. with you
Encourage a current member to become an RCIA Candidate Sponsor. This enables the sponsor to get to know the candidates and educate them on the many advantages of becoming a Knight for members and their families.
You will probably never get a better opportunity to recruit new members than when they are firm in their faith while learning.
RCIA to Knights Chairman