The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (often abbreviated RCIA) is the process through which interested adults are gradually introduced to the Roman Catholic faith and way of life. The RCIA is a communal process and involves a number of stages punctuated by liturgical rites to aid and assist the potential convert toward the final rite, usually at the Easter Vigil at which time they will become full members of the Roman Catholic Church. The entire process takes several months, (ideally a minimum of one complete liturgical year), but participants are generally invited to proceed at a pace which suits them individually. The Church prefers to call this the process and not a program. A catechumen is a person who has never received baptism. A candidate is a person who was already baptized. The Catholic Church acknowledges other Christian baptisms as long as the Trinitarian formula "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" was used.
Each year we celebrate the beautiful liturgy of Easter Vigil which is highlighted by the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist). That night, we welcome to our church community those who made their faith journey through the process of RCIA. RCIA classes begin in August and are held every Sunday of the month during the 9:00 am Mass. These sessions are also for Catholics who have not received the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.
YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED
... To learn more about the Catholic faith.
If you are interested in learning about the teachings of the Catholic Church, please consider attending one of our Inquiry sessions where we will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the Catholic Church, or our own faith community here at St. Patrick’s.
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 new 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 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 14:26)
With this commissioning and assurance, the Catholic Church has continued it’s mission for nearly 2,000 years to bring the good news to every corner of the world, into our modern age, with its voice still proclaiming, “The kingdom of God is among you.” (Luke 17:21)
HOW DO I GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT EXPLORING THE CATHOLIC FAITH?
The process for those interested in seriously considering the Catholic faith is the Rite of Christian Initiation, or more commonly known as “RCIA.” This process follows the ancient practice of the 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 begins with an “Inquiry” period in which we get to know you and discern with you where you are on your own spiritual journey.
In this time of seeking and reflection, you can 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.
WHAT IF I'VE ALREADY BEEN BAPTIZED IN ANOTHER CHRISTIAN DENOMINATION?
For our brothers and sisters who have been validly baptized in another Christian ecclesial community, the RCIA process is one of being properly formed in Catholic teachings and practices, ultimately preparing you for the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist if you decide to continue on your formal reception into the Catholic Church.
Your time of preparation will depend on the level of previous catechesis in the Christian faith that you have received within another faith community. The usual time for entry into the church is at the Easter Vigil liturgy, but this will depend on when you begin your RCIA journey. Our St. Patrick’s RCIA is a year-round program which welcomes you whenever you feel ready and comfortable 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 their faith journey when they enter RCIA. The RCIA process is designed to not be a burden in terms of study and time commitment. However, there will be some expectations of participants.
When you begin the RCIA journey, team members will have met with you and prepared a plan of instruction to help prepare you for reception into the Catholic Church. These are a series of presentations on the Catholic perspective of a Christian way of life, especially basic theology of 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 your particular catechesis study, you will be ready for your reception into the Roman Catholic Church.
You will be expected to attend a weekly designated Sunday liturgy, and after the RCIA dismissal, to meet as a group to discuss and reflect on the scripture readings proclaimed at that Mass.
You are expected to participate in the various RCIA rites, 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 or “godparent” for the sacraments of Baptism and/or Confirmation. If there is not someone immediately available to you who meets 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 often 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 offers just the opposite—more freedom. Jesus told his disciples, “Peace I leave with 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 institution, community and servant. Through it’s witness within all three models, it has worked to fulfill it’s 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.
Please contact Deacon Chuck Reyburn for more information at 209-383-3924 ext. 20 or by email.