Hundreds of those generous people serve the people of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle in myriad ways each week from arranging flowers in church to serving on a diocesan council, assisting refugees at Penola House, helping at the school canteen and spending time with people living with disability, mental illness or experiencing grief. The list goes on.
One of those volunteers, Diocesan RCIA Coordinator, Loretto Lynch, has generously devoted herself over many years to journeying with people as they become Catholics through the Rites of Christian Initiation (RCIA) program.
The RCIA program allows adults who are interested in the Catholic faith to develop their relationship with God as they spend time with a Catholic community in prayer and dialogue, learn about the teachings of the Catholic faith and decide whether to become a Catholic. Loretto helps to coordinate the sponsors, priests and parishioners who companion these people on their faith journey.
Loretto is a retired primary school teacher, mother of four, grandmother of five and a volunteer. Like most volunteers, the volunteer work she does is only one of many hats she wears, but she has given her time freely over many years because she enjoys helping others.
“I get a great deal of joy from the catechumens’ experiences of conversion, the chance to be enriched by gospel discussions and the fun and laughter we share each week. I am constantly amazed that these people have the courage to commit themselves to the Catholic faith in these times,” Loretto said.
Loretto notes that volunteering is a mutually beneficial pursuit.
“Our team comprises women and men from many different walks of life, people who bring their own Catholic faith experiences to our meetings each week. As volunteers on this team we can openly share the ups and downs of our daily lives as we try to show those people who come to us the joy of sharing our faith experiences, even though they are many and varied,” Loretto reflected.
Loretto enjoys being present for an adult baptism, “a definite highlight for me” and hearing about the Neophytes’ (new Catholics) “joy and excitement as they share their initiation experience.”
Loretto hopes that in the future there will be more RCIA ministry in parishes so that groups of enquirers can be nourished and supported, not just by the RCIA team, but by other enquirers, as the program allows people on the journey to befriend each other and “know that they are not alone”.
Article by Joanne Isaac.
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) Mass will be held this Sunday 18 May at 9.30am at Sacred Heart Cathedral. This will be a celebration for all new Catholics in the diocese who were baptised or received into full communion at Easter or at any time in the last 12 months. All parishioners, family members, parish RCIA teams, sponsors and godparents in the diocese are invited to join Bishop Bill to welcome these new Catholics into our diocesan faith family. Mass will conclude with a Commissioning liturgy, and then morning tea will be served by the Diocesan RCIA team in Cathedral House.