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Become Catholic



INTRODUCTION

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, (abbreviated RCIA), is the process through which interested adults are gradually introduced to the Roman Catholic faith and way of life. The RCIA determines where a person is on their spiritual journey, and seeks to accompany them on an exploration of Catholic teaching and worship as part of our local parish community. While the RCIA process prepares one for coming into full communion with the Catholic Church, participating in RCIA is not necessarily a commitment to do so. Participants are invited into this spiritual exploration at a pace which suits them individually over a period of time, sufficient for them to decide whether they wish to join our faith community.

We welcome those who have never been baptized, as well as those baptized in another Christian tradition which uses the scriptural Trinitarian formula for baptism, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist) are part of the beautiful liturgy of the Easter Vigil. However, you may join our RCIA process at any time during the year.


THE CHURCH FROM THE BEGINNING

The Catholic Church traces its roots back to Jesus Christ and to the 12 Apostles he commissioned to go out into the world, “and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

Prior to his crucifixion and resurrection, he had announced to his disciples that Simon, to whom he gave the name Peter, would be the head of his Church. “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 16:18-19a)

While the Apostles began spreading the faith with zeal after receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Jesus assured them they would not be left alone, but he would send the Advocate, or Holy Spirit, who was promised to “ . . teach you everything, and remind you of all that I told you.” (John 14:256) With this commissioning and assurance, the Catholic Church has continued its mission for nearly 2,000 years, to bring the good news to every corner of the world, into our own modern age, with its voice still proclaiming, “The kingdom of God is among you.”


HOW DO I GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT EXPLORING THE CATHOLIC FAITH?

As explained above, the process for those interested in seriously considering the Catholic faith is the RCIA. This process follows the ancient practice of the early Church, and was restored by the Second Vatican Council as the normal way adults are prepared for full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. The RCIA process is one of study, exploration, faith-sharing and faith formation. It is a time of seeking and reflection, encouraging you to ask questions regarding any aspect of Catholic practice or teaching, to decide whether this is the right path for you to take. The RCIA prepares men and women to make a conscious choice of seeking ways to more fully open their lives to Jesus Christ through the Catholic faith.

For those already validly baptized in another Christian tradition, or for Catholics who have been baptized but have not received any further sacramental formation, your time as an RCIA inquirer depends on the level of previous instruction you have received in the Christian faith. As a year-round RCIA program, our faith community welcomes you whenever you feel comfortable and ready to begin your discernment of the Catholic faith. 


WHAT IS EXPECTED OF ME DURING THE RCIA PROCESS?

Each person’s spiritual journey is unique and personal, depending on where they are in this journey when they enter the RCIA program. The RCIA is designed not to be a burden in terms of study and time commitment. However, there will be some expectations of participants.

When you begin the RCIA journey, you will meet with team members who will guide you through your study of scripture and the teachings of the Catholic faith. These are a series of presentations on the Catholic perspective of a Christian way of life, especially basic theology of the Catholic understanding of revelation and scripture, the person of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Trinity, prayer, sacramental theology and practice, and other doctrinal teachings. Once you have completed these catechetical studies, you will be properly formed should you elect to be received into the Roman Catholic Church.

During RCIA, you will be expected to attended a weekly, designated Sunday liturgy at St. Patrick’s church, and after the RCIA dismissal, to meet as a group to discuss and reflect on the scripture meetings proclaimed at that Mass. You are expected to participate in various stages of the RCIA which mark phases of growth and commitment in your spiritual journey. These are celebrated with the larger St. Patrick’s faith community.

You will need to choose a sponsor or mentor to be a personal “guide” for your RCIA journey. They must be a Catholic in good standing who you are comfortable in sharing your spiritual discernment with. They can be your sponsor for the sacraments of Baptism and/or Confirmation. If there is not someone immediately available to you who meet the criteria, a member of the RCIA team can also be a personal mentor..


WHY SHOULD I CONSIDER THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AS MY SPIRITUAL HOME?

Many people today see “organized” religion as an anachronism in our modern world. Our current Pope, Francis, constantly reminds us that the Good News of the gospel is being drowned out by the voices of materialism, secularism, and commercialism. Many people see religion as a system that restricts human freedom. The truth is that religion gives you just the opposite—more freedom. Jesus told his disciples, “Peace I leave you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27) Historically, the Catholic Church is the one founded by the Apostles, and has continued to preach the same gospel, guided by the Holy Spirit down through the ages. The Catholic Church has been described as an institution, a community, and a servant. Through it’s witness within all three models, it has worked to fulfill its mission of bringing the Good News of salvation to the ends of the earth. But it is also a human church, not a flawless church, but we are one in our common humanity-in-need-of-redemption, offering the fullness of salvation to all through the graces of sacramental living.


HOW DO I GET STARTED IN THE RCIA PROCESS?

If you are interested in talking further about the RCIA at St. Patrick’s parish, please click on the icon below:                                                                                    

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