EWTN Catholic Q&A
RCIA flexibility
Question from Isabel on 01-02-2014:

Due to work, family, and other responsibilities, there are some people who can never attend formal RCIA programs. For example, there are people who can't meet once a week at a specific time because that person works at that time every week, but RCIA has met the same time/day in that parish for years. What would you recommend to someone in that situation? The obvious answer is try another parish, but in many places in the U.S. that could be at quite a distance. I'll await your answer, but mine is more flexibility in RCIA. Today one may get advanced degrees without ever stepping on a college campus. How about self-study and a talk with a priest as your final exam? There is a wealth of information online and a lot is on the Catholic Answers site.

Answer by Catholic Answers on 01-02-2014:


RCIA is not just about studying the faith; it also introduces potential Catholics to the life of the parish. And that means that those potential Catholics will have to become accustomed to setting aside time out of their schedule once a week to go to their parish, since that is what they will be expected to do every Sunday and holy day of obligation once they become Catholic.

If someone has an extraordinary set of circumstances (e.g., homebound due to illness, on military deployment, etc.) then a pastor can work with the individual to find a solution for faith formation that meets the individual's needs. Generally speaking though, someone who is interested in becoming Catholic needs to be gently reminded that he or she should make time to attend RCIA. Discerning God's call in their life should be their number one priority.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers