What is an RCIA Sponsor?
The tradition of the Church is a living one; it presumes that Catholics, who desire to accept the humbling invitation to become sponsors, live the tradition that they would hand on to others. In an effort to integrate this tradition into the life of prospective church members, sponsors reach out with love and support to provide the seedbed for transformed lives.
An RCIA Sponsor is a Companion
You accompany a person in a proactive sense; you enhance the journey. As one who is walking the Catholic way of life, you help the candidate better understand where they are on their own journey.
An RCIA Sponsor is a Guide
The Holy Spirit is the first and most effective guide in the process. However, you are a type of “veteran” in that you have walked the walk. You have walked the path of the Catholic way of life and are familiar with the territory.
An RCIA Sponsor is a Representative of the Parish Community
Whether you sit with them at Sunday Mass, participate in a service activity together, or just meet at Coffee & Donuts and introduce them to a few other parishioners you know, you are the person who connects the candidate to the parish. You are the friendly face of the parish.
An RCIA sponsor is a Witness
In the 1st Century Church, if someone wanted to join, a community member had to bring the person forward and testify as to that individual’s sincerity and good intention. At St. Francis we do this symbolically at the Rite of Acceptance where the candidate is led into the church and presented by the sponsor. Since the sponsor spends time with their candidate and gets to know them, they are called upon to offer input as to the readiness of the candidate for the next step in the process.
An RCIA Sponsor is a Mentor
Catechumens and candidates learn what being a Catholic Christian is all about from many people, but mostly from their sponsors. The constant challenge for a sponsor is to be open to growth in faith and to putting into practice what that faith means. Nobody expects you to be perfect. A sponsor who can admit his or her limitations and who continually tries to grow is an excellent model. You are not responsible for imparting the teachings of the Church so do not worry if you don’t have all the answers.
Not everyone is gifted in being a sponsor; if you are unsure, the RCIA Director can guide you in assessing your qualifications for this ministry. Build confidence that the way you live your faith can be a positive influence on others. Most importantly, rely on the help of the Holy Spirit.
Being a RCIA Sponsor is a Rewarding and Grace-filled Experience!
Don’t be surprised if you feel like a new Catholic yourself when the time for initiation arrives. If you are a practicing, confirmed Catholic and would like to become a sponsor please contact Kelly Hernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 821-2122.