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RCIA better when priests, laypeople work together

.- The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), the yearlong process of joining the Catholic Church, is most effective when laypeople and priests work together and when the learning process stretches beyond the classroom, says a new study.

In his new book, titled "Real Stories of Christian Initiation," sociologist David Yamane says the RCIA needs lay involvement to succeed, however, it is particularly important for priests to play a role beyond the rites in the RCIA process.

In addition, the number of people involved in the RCIA process is more important than the financial resources of the individual parish.

And while classroom learning often dominated the process, Yamane, who went through the RCIA process in 1992, says formation must go beyond the classroom for it to become a “formation in the practices of faith.”

"Real Stories of Christian Initiation" is co-authored by Sarah MacMillen and Kelly Culver. The researchers spent almost a year observing the RCIA process in five Indiana parishes.

Yamane is an assistant professor of sociology at Wake Forest University. His area of study is religion and postwar American Catholicism. He is the editor of "Sociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review."

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