Rite of Christian Initiation
Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA)
Are you interested in the Catholic Faith? Do you have questions about Catholicism? Are you curious about the Catholic way of life?
If you answered yes, then RCIA is for you!
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is a formation/education process for persons desiring to become members of the Catholic Church. The formation element provides opportunities seek a closer relationship with Jesus Christ through such themes as Sacred Scripture, the teachings of the Catholic Church, the Sacraments and the writings of many holy men and women. The education process studies interesting topics which include Church History, the Liturgical Year, and Life Issues. The participant travels on a unique Journey of Faith that is marked by three communal rites that are the transitions into stages of spiritual growth. The Rites are: the Rite of Acceptance/Rite of Welcoming, the Rite of Election/Call to Continuing Conversion, and the Great Easter Vigil. The stages are: Inquiry, the Catechumenate, Purification & Enlightenment and Mystagogy.
1. Who comes to the RCIA gatherings?
The RCIA process welcomes all those who are inquiring about the Catholic Faith. These Inquirers usually fall into one of three categories:
•Adults (and their children) who have never been baptized;
•Adults (and their children) who are baptized in another denomination and wish to inquire about the Catholic Faith;
•Adults who have been baptized Catholic but have not yet celebrated the other Sacraments of Initiation – Holy Eucharist or Confirmation.
2. What are the distinct periods of formation and instruction?
Monthly informal gatherings begin in January. They take place on the third Sunday from 3:30 pm-5:00 pm. Each has a particular topic to explore about the Catholic Christian way of life. More importantly, however, are the questions or “inquiries” that the attendees bring.
In September the process transitions to weekly classes on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 – 8:30 pm. Included now is attendance at the Sunday 9:30 am Mass for the Dismissal – or the time to discuss the weekly Scripture Readings.
The Inquiry period lasts as long as the Inquirer needs it to last. As the Inquirer moves towards the acceptance of the Gospel, the acceptance of the invitation of Jesus Christ to be His disciple in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church, he/she is invited to take part in the first rite – the Rite of Acceptance if unbaptized or the Rite of Welcoming if baptized. This is the threshold to the next stage, the Catechumenate.
The Catechumenate period is marked for both the Catechumen (unbaptized) and the Candidate (baptized) by a time of serious study and involvement in the faith community of St. Eugene. The Tuesday night classes and Dismissal continue.
On the first Sunday of Lent, the Catechumens and Candidates are invited to participate in the second rite, the Rite of Election/Call to Continuing Conversion. The participants become the “Elect”, or those who have responded in faith to the call of God to be His Elect.
Purification & Enlightenment
This last period of formation continues throughout the season of Lent. It is marked by an emphasis on prayer and reflection that leads to a continuous turning in faith towards the Lord Jesus to follow him in prayer and service
At the Great Easter Vigil the Catechumens celebrate the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Holy Eucharist and Confirmation. The Candidates are received into the Church and receive the Sacraments of Holy Eucharist and Confirmation. Catholic Candidates receive Confirmation.
The new members or “neophytes” continue to gather weekly during the Easter Season to explore how to live out their Baptismal call to holiness and service. This period invites them to grow in their spiritual life through personal prayer and involvement in the community.
3. Do I need a Sponsor to become part of the RCIA process?
Yes, but you don't need to come to the process with one. The Sponsor is the person who journeys with you to the celebration of the sacraments at the Easter Vigil and speaks on behalf of the community of your conversion and commitment. Many people inquire about RCIA because they already know someone in the faith community and that person would be invited to “Sponsor” the person when he/she enters the catechumenate period. However, sometimes God leads people to the doors of the church without knowing a single member. Our community strongly participates in stewardship and one of the finest ways to give of oneself is to accompany another person on his/her Journey of Faith as a Sponsor. Many people offer to do this. During the months of September and October the ‘Inquirers” and Sponsors get to know one another and by the time of the Rite of Acceptance a natural pairing takes place. From that time on each Catechumen or Candidate has his/her own Sponsor.
What about children?
Children of persons coming into the Catholic Church through Baptism or Profession of Faith and celebration of the other two Sacraments of Initiation receive sacramental preparation, also. . Children under the age of 18 are prepared in special classes to celebrate the sacraments. Children age 18 and over are considered adults and join the adult gatherings. Usually children under 10 years old do not participate in the Great Easter Vigil. Their Baptisms are celebrated the Sunday following Easter Sunday.
Please call Judi Wilkinson, Director of RCIA,
for more information. 751-7115 ext 115
"The faithful are born anew by Baptism, strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation, and receive in the Eucharist the food of eternal life...in increasing measure the treasures of the divine life and advance toward the perfection of charity
[Bl. Paul VI]