February 2010 Evangelization Exchange – Guttierez

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations

Helping Hispanic Families Receive the Good News

by Magdalena Guttierez

The proclamation of Salvation in Jesus Christ is the most basic sound bite of the Christian message. Every time I begin the basic training of RCIA catechists, I look forward to this opening line.I believe this message to be true, as I received it from my Catholic School teachers and through my daily prayerful reading of the Bible. Yet my most memorable experience of salvation came when I was able to apply my Catholic knowledge to a real life situation: “I came that they may have life and have it to the full” or in other words “God made me to know, love and serve him in this world, and to be happy with him in the next.” “God knows all things, even our most secret thoughts, words, and actions.”

Knowing so many of these wonderful and precious golden truths sometimes makes it difficult to understand why some parents in the Hispanic community take it as an offense when the parishes require a two-year minimum RCIC commitment to Christian formation. Don’t they want their children to be strong disciples?Why would they settle for less somewhere else?

Every time an RCIA coordinator calls me to vent the frustration after listening to the newest episode I ask: “Did you remember to proclaim the good news?” Here is the deal, if you meet a parent with three kids, feeling guilty, or tired or ashamed, looking for information on baptismal preparation, please, always call to mind the good news of salvation in Christ. Here is an example: “We are so glad you came to us (even if it is January) to register your children for religious education. I have very good news for you. It has been the Lord who has guided your steps until this moment. He is the most interested in your child, getting to know him, because he wants to bless him abundantly, not just with baptism, but for the rest of his life. And he knows best what your child and your whole family need at this time. We are so happy you came to us so that we can be part of this journey of faith with you.” This introduction expresses your intention to bless the family and dispels the shame and the guilt many parents carry unconsciously.

Muchas Bendiciones!

Magdalena Gutierrez is the Coordinator of Evangelization and Hispanic RCIA for the Archdiocese of Washington. She will be contributing a periodic column about evangelization with Hispanic communities for Evangelization Exchange.