Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Why are Mike & Patti Wilson passionate about being RCIA sponsors?

Tulsans become Catholic at the Church of Saint Mary through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, RCIA. It is a process of prayer and discernment, but it is not one that is done alone. Parishioners make themselves available to be sponsors accompanying the candidates throughout the year.

Mike and Patti Wilson are perennial sponsors at our parish program.


Why are you passionate about being RCIA sponsors?

Patt: For me it’s twofold. It’s a deepening of my own faith because I learn so much from the the weekly programs that they’ve got and they talk about so many different things and they’re so much bigger than I ever knew before. The other is to watch the people that you’re accompanying on this journey and see their face and their eyes as they see something for the first time. Their eyes are widened and then the questions come.

Mike: I would say the same thing. As a convert to the faith I probably have learned more about my faith being a sponsor than I did joining the Church.

Being a sponsor is  a bonding journey with the person that’s joining the Church. Our faith is love and emotion and sponsors develop a connection with the candidate you sponsored.


Will you be making yourselves available this fall to be sponsors?

Patti: Yes, I have a neighbor who lives behind us in our neighborhood who is interested. She’s Methodist right now and she’s married to a Catholic and I think he wants to get back into the Church and she wants to learn more about it so I’ll be there.


Classes start in September. If a parishioner wants to be a sponsor what’s the responsibility?

Mike: First, I think it’s important for your own understanding [of the faith].

If I’m sponsoring someone, I need to be along the journey. I need to be there for them and with them.


How does it work? You show up to the classes and mingle with the people. Then they choose a sponsor with whom they’re comfortable?

Patti: Basically. We get to know different people. We have a little food and drink available just for us to mingle around. We get to know people, say hello to them, and develop a relationship. Pretty soon you find yourself talking to a certain person more than another person. That person may ask, “Do you think you might want to be my sponsor?”

It’s as simple as that.


Mike: If there’s someone who joins [later than September, the RCIA leaders] say, “If you haven’t been selected, can you take this person?” We could always use more sponsors.


What’s the time commitment outside of RCIA class?

Mike: I don’t think there’s anything formal but we would try a lot of times to coordinate with the people we were sponsoring: Let’s go to the same Mass and then maybe have breakfast sometimes afterwards. It’s good to be able to talk and compare notes.


What do you get out of it? Why would you want to be a sponsor? Does it bring you joy?

Patti: Absolutely! It’s fun. It’s interesting learning what these people previously thought about the Catholic Church and what they think about it now.

I enjoy their friendship. They’re really interesting because they’re seekers and they’re thinkers.

Mike: They’re not just exposed to Father Jack and Father Vince. Other people participate: the deacons, some teachers from Bishop Kelley including Father Kastl.


If I were a parishioner who wants to get involved what’s my first step?

Patti: Come to the meetings and they’ll give you a little brochure or notebook about all the different things that sponsorship entails. The notebook includes the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be. Your candidate might not be familiar with those prayers, so you can help them right away.

It all begins on September 3.

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