This coming fall semester, the RCIA program at Benedictine College is transitioning from its old design into a new format, called Emmaus nights, aimed towards a journey rather than a class or lesson.

Catholicism is one of the four pillars that Benedictine College is built around. 

The program Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA) is used to educate those who are not catholic and prepare them to receive sacraments. The program name has been changed to Emmaus, allowing a more interactive environment open to both participants who are receiving the sacraments and those who wish to learn more about the Catholic faith. 

Fr. Simon Baker, O.S.B. giving a presentation to Emmaus night attendees. Photo by Trace Flax

Anna Laughery, senior and Emmaus coordinator, reflects on the environment.

“We are changing it from calling it ‘RCIA classes’ to calling it ‘Emmaus nights’ and we want to make it more of an opportunity for those who are in the RCIA program as well as the entirety of campus to learn how to live a fully human life and a fully cohesive life,” Laughery said.

Emmaus nights are held on Monday nights from 7:30 to 9:30 PM.

The RCIA program in previous years has been held in a classroom location with just the RCIA participants present. However, the Ministry Team has decided that they want to move the location to the second floor of the St. John Paul II Student Center.

Kevin Brown, associate director of ministry, reflects on the shift into this new setup.

“The approach of, first of all getting it out of the classroom, but making it an actual lived experience,” Brown said.

These transitions were planned after those who worked with RCIA in the past felt that putting college students into another classroom setting didn’t help them truly learn about the Catholic faith.

“It was good content, but when you’re in classes all day already and then you have to go to another class at night on top of that it becomes a burden for people,” Laughery said.

The Emmaus program will feature different speakers and personal testimonies.

“We’re going to be using a ‘think-pair-share’ model where we kind of break up the night a little bit so it’s not just 60 minutes of listening to content,” Brown said. “So it’s 15 to 20 minutes of content, some time to discuss it with peers and then a little Q&A time.”

The name Emmaus Nights comes from the biblical story most often known as the “Road to Emmaus” where Jesus Christ walked with two men on the path to Emmaus after his resurrection. The men did not recognize Jesus and were talking about his crucifixion. Jesus then reveals himself to them at supper and the men were evangelized.

https://youtu.be/07GCSW1CQUg

With this new transition on the way, the Emmaus team hopes the participants are truly able to not only know the Catholic faith, but to be able to live and love it.

“I just want one person to experience the love of Jesus in a way they haven’t before,” Laughery said, “If one person loves Jesus more and feels loved then I’m happy.”

If you wish to get involved in RCIA or wish to learn more information about Emmaus nights, contact Anna Laughery at laug7863@ravens.benedictine.edu.