The National Gathering on Christian Initiation™ is an annual two-day conference for parish Christian initiation ministers and diocesan catechetical, liturgical, and evangelization leaders. Steeped in the vision of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, the National Gathering on Christian Initiation™ seeks to promote the vision of the Church as constantly evangelizing, catechizing, and initiating disciples. Liturgy, evangelization, and catechesis are the foundational elements of the gathering. Throughout the conference, participants will explore the theoretical and practical aspects of initiation ministry, learn from interactive multimedia presentations, engage in prayerful reflection on the liturgies of the RCIA, and share their knowledge and experience with initiation ministers from around the country.
When the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults was promulgated, it was received in this country and others with great enthusiasm as a vision for the Church as one that would constantly evangelize, catechize, initiate, and make disciples. In the years following the initial promulgation, a great deal of energy went into training people for the ministry of initiation. Universities, seminaries, and ministry formation programs educated a generation of leaders on the importance of Christian initiation. Dioceses and national organizations offered practical training, and many publishers provided printed and video materials to support those who taught and worked in initiation ministry. Liturgy Training Publications was especially active in providing these materials.
In commemoration of our fiftieth anniversary in 2013, Liturgy Training Publications committed to explore ways to recover our roots in training and formation. As we began to develop and implement both in-person and virtual distance learning workshops, it quickly became clear that Christian initiation would be an important area of focus. The National Gathering on Christian Initiation™ was a natural outgrowth of this commitment. It is the result of two smaller gatherings over the summers of 2015 and 2016 that brought together experienced ministers of initiation, both catechetical and liturgical.
In the first gathering, in 2015, participants engaged in conversation and selected speakers to examine the elements of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, paragraph 75, which describes the elements of training in the Christian life, including catechesis that is “gradual and complete in its coverage, accommodated to the liturgical year, . . . leads . . . to an appropriate acquaintance with dogmas and precepts but also to a profound sense of the mystery of salvation.” Participants in that gathering expressed a desire for a larger event that would provide training and support for ministers and leaders.
The second gathering, in 2016, focused directly on the content of the first National Gathering on Christian Initiation™: Disciples Making Disciples (2017). Beginning with the goals set forth at the 2015 discussion, the second gathering determined the specific topics, issues, or concerns that needed to be addressed in order to achieve these goals.
The National Gathering on Christian Initiation™ will have two tracks, one for leadership and one for those who work directly with those coming to faith through the catechumenate. Parish ministers will participate in sessions designed to deepen and enrich their work. Those who are new to the ministry who wish to participate in the conference will have the opportunity to participate in some initial training via pre-conference distance-learning sessions. It is our hope that the leadership will come away with a new or renewed vision of Christian initiation as the work of the whole Church.
Each year, a different team of presenters will work together with an LTP representative to plan the major addresses and breakout sessions of the event. Team members have been invited, not only because of their understanding of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and the Church’s mission of evangelization, but also because of their vast parish and diocesan experience. As a true collaboration, the individual gifts and ministerial experience of each team member will shape the NGCI experience. During the planning meetings for the NGCI, the team has reflected upon the ‘principles for conducting adult faith formation’ as found in Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us (81-83).
Liturgy Training Publications is an agency of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Founded in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, we are devoted to the promotion of liturgical formation as outlined in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.
To promote the liturgical formation "of the faithful and also their active participation in the liturgy both internally and externally, taking into account their age and condition, their way of life, and their stage of religious development" so all the faithful may "become thoroughly imbued with the spirit and power of the liturgy." —Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 19, 14
Liturgy Training Publications is hosting the National Gathering on Christian Initiation™ to promote the full implementation of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. LTP has long been a leader in promoting the baptismal catechumenate through our publications, in line with our mission. As we expand our work to fulfill our mission through the support and training of ministers, we continue to promote the catechumenate through both virtual and in-person training sessions.
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