I have recently accepted the position at my parish of the RCIA Coordinator. I am thrilled to have this new challenge in front of me and I work with an amazing group of people. So far, I love my job.

Being in this new position, however, opened my eyes to the difficulties of faith formation scheduling. It seems that my RCIA team members all have different availability, our parish priest will be going onsabbatical soon and we have a vibrant, busy parish that seems to have something going on all the time. Add to this everyone’s busy lives and the availability of the Catechumens and well, a nightmare ensues.

I imagine that some of you have been dealing with this issue for years and I welcome your ideas and solutions regarding scheduling. In the meantime, I have a few ideas that might help us all when organizing ourtime.

1. Use a team! The more the merrier — well, at least the more people who may be available to help. If the RCIA team is five people, rather than two, responsibilities and availabilities can be spread around to ease the stress. This is true for faith formation classes as well. Consider having some substitute teachers for backup.

2. Be flexible. Our Liturgical Committee pointed out that I had scheduled one of our Rites on the first day of the new Missal changes. Probably not a great idea. As long as we provide some wiggle room (in this case moving up the Rite a week) we can still accomplish what we need to without overtaxing the congregation or the committees. I am also putting in some TBA (to be announced) dates into our RCIA schedule so that we can cover additional topics that may come up or spend more time on issues of interest.

3. Involve other committees. As in the above example, drawing in the other committees can help you to catch oversights in scheduling. Consider attending staff meetings, liturgical committee meetings and even music ministry meetings as they apply to your scheduling.

4. Give your information to people in advance. I am a big believer in the idea that planning properly saves time in the long run.Send out your tentative schedules early enough so that mistakes and conflicts may be caught and corrected. Try to include teachers, your director of religious ed., parish priest and even participants (when appropriate) in the process of planning.

5. Give it to God. You can’t plan for everything. Teachers get sick, parishes accidentally schedule two meetings the same day. Pray and give the conflicts over to the Lord. It’s like planning a wedding: just remember that things do go wrong. If you go into the process with a realistic view, it won’t feel as stressful when you hit a bump in the process. When my husband and I taught Pre-Cana (alone), his mother passed away and I had to teach the class by myself. It wasn’t the optimal situation, but (with God’s help) I managed.