No matter your age, there’s always something new to learn about our faith! It’s never too early to start building a strong faith foundation — and it’s never too late, either. Here at St. Isidore, our RCIA Adapted for Children process welcomes children of all ages into the church and guides them through their individual faith journeys.
RCIA Adapted for Children is designed for children who, for various reasons, are receiving their Sacraments of Initiation at different ages or in a different order than what is usually done in this diocese. This includes children above the age of reason, around the age of 7, up to 18 years old. RCIA Adapted for Children falls under both the Christian Initiation and the Family Faith Formation umbrellas, and thus also takes a whole-family approach to catechesis.
“We have a really good team at St. Isidore and we all work together well between the various ministries involved,” says Beth Jarvis, RCIA Adapted coordinator. “Parents come along with the children, and it’s about giving the parents support as they catechize their children. We do some catechizing for them as well, so they can go home and then use the materials we’ve given them to further their children’s catechism.”
The sessions meet once a month, typically on a Thursday evening, for an hour and a half.
“I give presentations on various topics related to the Catechism, our faith, and the Church,” Beth says. “These presentations go a little bit deeper than what they’re getting in the Family Faith Formation program. The program we use for Family Faith Formation is based on the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, and sessions are held every six weeks. So they get a general catechesis when they attend that program and then the parents also do some more in-depth things with them at home, and my program then enhances that by giving them a little more information about our faith.
“It also gives them a chance to have a person who they can connect with and ask questions as we get closer to the various rites that they go through during the process,” she adds. “I work in coordination with the adult Christian Initiation program to lead them to the Easter Vigil when they receive the sacraments.”
Parental involvement is an important aspect of the process because it not only allows parents to guide their children in the faith but also gives parents the opportunity to continue their own spiritual growth. Through this approach, the entire family is able to grow in faith together.
“I think parents really enjoy it and feel empowered to pass their faith onto their children,” Beth says. “With our small-group sessions, parents have someone they can turn to who can answer their questions, and I see a real growth in both their faith and in the faith of these kids.
“Last year after the Easter Vigil, one of the students came up to me and said, ‘I just want to thank you so much for going on this journey with me and leading me there,’” she adds. “He and his sister were baptized together, and now I continue to see them and their parents at Mass. It’s been a great way to build community. I think it’s a very worthwhile program and I’m looking forward to seeing how it grows!”
For more information about RCIA Adapted for Children, contact the parish office at 530-673-1573.