WHAT IS RCIA?
R.C.I.A. is the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. It is a gradual process of initiation in the Catholic Faith through prayer, study, discussion, and ritual for:
- Unbaptized adults who wish to explore the Catholic Faith and to possibly prepare for the initiation sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.
- Adults who have been baptized in another Christian community who want to learn more about the Catholic religion and be received into the Faith.
- Baptized Catholics who have not received the sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation and who desire to enter fully into the community of the Catholic Church, perhaps as preparation for Marriage in the Church.
WHAT IS INVOLVED?
There are four stages or periods with rites or ceremonies as gateways between them, celebrated within a Sunday Mass or at a formal diocesan celebration. These rites mark and empower the spiritual growth of the Catechumens (unbaptized) and Candidates (baptized) as they prepare for full membership in the Church.
FOUR STAGES OF R.C.I.A
Precatechumenate and Inquiry
This is a stage of informal meetings, a time of evangelization-sharing the Gospel, answering questions, and introduction to basic Catholic life, prayers, and teachings. Inquirers strive to open their hearts to the Gospel and the workings of the Holy Spirit and begin the conversion process, as the Church helps them discern whether God is calling them into the Catholic Church.
Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens / Rite of Welcoming
Period of the Catechumenate
After being placed in formal relationship with the Church through the Rite of Acceptance and Welcoming, the Catechumens (unbaptized) and Candidates (baptized) enter a period of receiving gradual and systematic instruction in the teachings of the Catholic Faith based on the Catechism, as well as a time of formation in prayer and works of charity. They also receive special blessings and prayers and participate on Sundays in the Breaking Open the Word-a shared discussion on the meaning of the Scriptures for their lives.
Rite of Election / Call to Continuing Conversion
Period of Purification and Enlightement
Through the Rite of Election, the Catechumens and Candidates enter into this period which corresponds with the season of Lent. This is an intense time of prayer, discernment, and spiritual preparation for the Easter sacraments. Catechumens and Candidates continue to Break Open the Word on Sundays and to receive special blessings, help in scrutinizing their hearts, and the Presentations of the Creed and Lord’s Prayer.
Sacraments of Initiation - Easter Vigil
Period of Postbaptismal Catechesis or Mystagogy
Following Easter until Pentecost, we “unfold the Mysteries” that have taken place. The Gospels in this period are given so that together we might reflect on what this new life in Christ means and how the newly initiated can become more a part of parish life. It is dedicated to deepening the Christian experience, for spiritual growth and for entering more fully into the life and unity of the community. The newly baptized and newly received begin their neophyte year which continues until Easter Vigil the following year.
Sponsors are members of the Catholic community who make the journey with individuals in the RCIA process. The sponsors (or godparents) role is to:
- Witness their own faith to their candidate (or catechumen) by modeling the Christian life and providing practical information about Catholic life and practices
- Assist them at the weekly sessions and introduce them to other parishioners; accompany them on certain Sundays and session nights for special Rites and at the Easter Vigil; pray for them
- Give testimony of their candidate’s (or catechumen’s) spiritual growth and readiness to be received into the Church
- To be a sponsor (or godparent) one needs to be at least age 16, a practicing Catholic in good standing with the Church, and have already received the sacrament of Confirmation.
WHEN AND WHERE?
RCIA meets every other Thursday from 5:30pm to 6:30p.m. in the Parish Hall. Use the contact information below for the day and time of the summer Inquiry Sessions.What if I think I might be interested, but I’m still hesitant?
If there is some concern or reason that you are reluctant to begin the RCIA, please use the contact information below to discuss your particular situation.
If you, or someone you know is interested in knowing more about the Catholic way of life, with the possibility of becoming a member of the Church, or a Catholic who wishes to complete their initiation, please call the office at (301) 884-2502 for more information or send an e-mail to [email protected].