Are you thinking of becoming Catholic?
Would you like to know more about the process used to help people do just that? We wish to assist you in your search for answers to questions you may have about the various processes called “the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults” (or RCIA).
What made you decide to seek information about becoming a Catholic?
Perhaps you are going to marry (or are already married to) a Catholic…maybe you have friends who are Catholic…maybe you are interested in the teachings of the Catholic Church…maybe you have a desire to experience the sacraments of the Church…or maybe, just maybe, God has been tugging at you and you feel more ready to respond to Him. There are many ways that God calls a person into relationship with Jesus Christ, and we are happy to help you on this journey.
The Catholic Church has established a process to help you seek God: the “Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults”. Entering into the process of RCIA is not a commitment to become Catholic; rather, it is the expression of one’s desire to consider and possibly develop a deeper relationship with Christ and the faith of the Catholic Church.
Is the RCIA process for you?
It may be. Our experience has demonstrated that people who find themselves in one of the following three categories find this process extremely beneficial for their spiritual lives:
- Those who are not baptized (also known as “catechumens”)
- Those who were baptized in another Christian denomination and now want to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church (known as “candidates”)
- Those who are baptized Catholic but who were not instructed in the Catholic faith and have not completed their initiation into the sacramental life of the Church (also known as “candidates”)
How does the process unfold?
While each person is unique, individual and held in special esteem, there still are four stages of formation within the RCIA process. These unfold at different times along each person’s journey toward deeper faith, yet tend to be consistent movements within the lives of all candidates and catechumens. The four stages are:
Pre-Catechumenate (also known as “Inquiry”)
During this period, “inquirers” receive answers to some of their most pressing questions about the Catholic faith and discern how this faith might connect with their personal story and their desire for a deeper relationship with Christ and the Catholic Church. There is no time limit for this period…it simply progresses as the individual person progresses. When ready, inquirers are then invited to continue this journey through participation in the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of the Catechumenate.
This is the second period of preparation. This stage also varies in length according to each person’s needs, yet most often it involves a process of at least twelve months. Both catechumens and candidates spend time being introduced to Catholic beliefs and way of life. The Sacred Scriptures and Catholic teaching will guide them, while active participation in various forms of worship and communal service will help them to begin to assimilate such lessons into their everyday lives. During this stage of the RCIA process, a sponsor will be chosen to walk with each catechumen and candidate, strengthening, encouraging and praying for their continued growth. This stage culminates for catechumens in the Rite of Election; for candidates, they are implored to respond to the Lord’s Call to Continuing Conversion.
Purification & Enlightenment
This period, which coincides with the season of Lent, is a time of intense, immediate and final preparation for initiation. Lent is ordinarily that time for all people to turn away from sin and be enlightened by Christ. During this time, the Elect engage in prayer and reflection about their growing relationship with Christ and His Church. They discern how they will live out that primary and essential relationship in their everyday lives. Clearly, the centerpiece of this period is prayerful preparation, and their prayer leads them deeper and deeper into the mystery of the Church. As they progress, the scrutinies of the Church are celebrated with them, to aid them in their deep desire to be Catholic. This period climaxes with the celebration of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist at their parish during the celebration of the Easter Vigil, the night before Easter Sunday.
This final period—meaning “leading into the mysteries”—lasts from Easter Sunday until the culmination of the Easter season and the celebration of Pentecost (50 days). It is a time when the newly initiated (also known as “neophytes”) reflect on that which they have just experienced, and they begin their lifelong pilgrimage anew with the Spirit of God and the great gift of the Catholic faith.
Want to find out more?
Contact our parish office, Deacon Greg Mansfield or our RCIA Coordinator, Joanne Cimma, to find out more…congratulations and thank you for even going this far to consider how God may be inviting you to celebrate His gift of faith in your life.