The main objective of this course is to form persons, who are committed Catholics, to provide individual accompaniment to persons who are on a journey to join the Catholic Church and those who would be in their first months as baptised Catholics. Typically, these persons would act as sponsors as understood in the Rite (Order) of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), starting from assisting the enquirers in their process of discerning whether to become members of the Church and accompanying them all the way to Mystagogy.
If you are a registered pastoral worker with the Archdiocese of Malta, you can benefit from a 50% discount on this course. Start your application process as a pastoral worker on parrocci.knisja.mt/pfi
This course is intended for committed Catholics who would like to share their experience of what it means to be part of the Church with persons who are in a process of discernment about whether to become Catholics. Ideally, these persons would be active in a particular parish where the persons that they would be accompanying could become eventually rooted following their baptism.
This course does not entitle the student to become an accompanying person for Catechumens. The accompanying persons are appointed by the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) Team in collaboration with the Parish Priest/Chaplain of the respective community.
Target audience: 25+
|Code||Mode of Delivery|
This module offers a basic introduction to key themes of the main areas of Christian theology. These include fundamental, scriptural, dogmatic, ecclesiological, and ethical theological concepts guiding the evangelising mission of the Church.
By the end of the module, the learner will become aware of what the sources of theology and gain a basic understanding of the main areas of Christian theology.
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|ACI4001||In-person (Face-to-Face Learning)|
In this module, students will explore the below themes (in bold):
The Initiation in the Early Church (sources: Didache’, the Traditio Apostolica, the Apostolic Constitutions and Egeria’s Diary)
Initiation rites have developed very early in the Christian Church. This was definitely influenced by contemporary culture and religions. The persecution which continually ensued against the Christians in the Roman Empire also necessitated that those who wanted to become Christians had the appropriate characteristics and their motivations were tested before they were admitted to the community of believers. Various documents, which date back to the first centuries of the Church provide us with significant information about Christian Initiation in the Early Church.
The development of the Rite/Order of the Christian Initiation of Adults (Vatican II and afterwards)
During the years preceding the convocation of the Second Vatican Council there was a particular movement in the Church to restructure the catechumenate for adult persons who wanted to become Catholic in such a way that it was modelled on the Christian Initiation in the Early Church. The efforts of this movement were promoted by the Second Vatican Council’s general orientation towards updating the Church (aggiornamento) by going to its roots (ressourcement).
Principles of Spiritual Accompaniment
Accompanying a person who is on the journey towards becoming a member of the Catholic Church is one of spiritual nature. Therefore, it is essential to provide a short exposition of the fundamental principles of spiritual accompaniment.
The role of the sponsor through the RCIA process
The sponsor needs to assume various roles throughout the RCIA process, depending on the stage the candidates are in and according to their personal needs. During these sessions, the various roles which a sponsor would be expected to play during this process are identified and discussed. Moreover, since candidates would be coming from a diversity of cultural backgrounds, an appreciation of such diversity and its impact will also be provided.
|Code||Mode of Delivery|
|ACI4002||In-person (Face-to-Face Learning)|
Those who successfully finish Module 2 – Historical and Theological Perspectives of Christian Initiation may apply for this module which will consist in a 20 hour supervised accompaniment of a person going through the RCIA process, whilst being supported by other persons such as the parish priest and the catechists who will be providing catechesis to the person concerned, often in a group context.
Calendar for Module 2: Historical and Theological Perspectives of Christian Initiation
Sessions will be held on Mondays from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.
|15th January 2024||Session 1: The Initiation in the Early Church (sources: Didache’, the Traditio Apostolica, Apostolic Constitutions and Egeria’s Diary)|
|22nd January 2024||Session 2: The Development of the Rite/Order of the Christian Initiation of Adults (Vatican II and afterwards)|
|29th January 2024||Session 3: Principles of Spiritual Accompaniment (1)|
|5th February 2024||Session 4: Principles of Spiritual Accompaniment (2)|
|12th February 2024||Session 5: The Role of the Sponsor Through the RCIA process|
Calendar dates for Module 3: Accompaniment Placement will be made available to eligible students closer to starting date of module.
Unless deemed exempt by the institute, students will start this course from Module 1: Faith Foundations for Ministry. Upon completion of this module:
- A Certificate of Participation in Faith Foundations for Ministry will be awarded to students that have attended all contact hours of Module 1: Faith Foundations for Ministry and pass associated short multiple-choice exam.
- A Certificate of Achievement in Faith Foundations for Ministry will be awarded to students that have attended all contact hours of Module 1: Faith Foundation for Ministry, pass from associated short multiple-choice exam and written assignment.
Those that were required to complete Module 1: Faith Foundations for Ministry will be eligible to continue course upon successful completion of said module i.e., through obtaining one of the above certificates. Those that were exempt from doing Module 1: Faith Foundations for Ministry will start directly from Module 2: Historical and Theological Perspectives of Christian Initiation.
Upon completion Module 2: Historical and Theological Perspectives of Christian Initiation and Module 3: Accompaniment Placement a Certificate of Achievement will be awarded to students:
- that have attended all contact hours (of both modules)
- that pass from interview subjected in Module 2: Historical and Theological Perspectives of Christian Initiation
- that pass from Module 2: Historical and Theological Perspectives of Christian Initiation written assignment
- that pass from Module 3: Accompaniment Placement reflective journal.
Enrolment for this course necessitates a recommendation from the Parish Priest/Chaplain of the relevant community, a requirement that is subsequently verified by PFI.
Applicants who are in possession of an MQF/EQF Level 4 or higher qualification in Religious Studies and/or Theology and/or have successfully completed the Higher Education Award in Theology offered by PFI are exempted from Module 1 Faith Foundation for Ministry. A formal email is sent to applicants once Parish Priest recommendation and highest qualification is verified.
If applicants do not possess the required qualifications, they must follow the Module 1: Faith Foundations for Ministry course for free which must be successfully completed before starting Module 2: Historical and Theological Perspectives of Christian Initiation.