Rite of christian initiation of Adults
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the process of spiritual and educational formation through which adults become fully initiated members of the Roman Catholic Church.
All parishioners are invited to attend the first 5 sessions for Back to Catholic Basics.
What is RCIA?
Simply, the RCIA stands for Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. It is a process, where adults can have the opportunity to learn about the beliefs, teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic faith. RCIA is a journey of faith, a deep conversion to Jesus Christ and His values. During this process, a person is formed in faith by reflecting on God’s Word, the Catholic Community’s life, liturgy, beliefs, and apostolic works. The RCIA is a formation process leading to full communion in the Catholic Church, through the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist.
For whom is RCIA?
The RCIA is ideal for people who are not Catholic and who wish to know more about the Catholic faith. Catholic adults also find participation in the RCIA helpful as a “refresher” in their faith. Also, Catholics who have not been practicing their faith for a period of time find the RCIA useful in facilitating their return to the community of the Church.
What happens in RCIA?
RCIA sessions are a mix of prayer, faith sharing, scripture reading and discussion, “instruction”, and dialogue. Some sessions include “lessons” covering some aspect of Catholic teaching, belief or practice. Other sessions include things like tours of the Church to learn about what everything is and represents.
In the faith sharing aspect, people discuss the impact of their faith, whatever that is, on the way they live their lives in particular in response to the teaching of the Church.
Scripture is one of the corner stones of the faith, which is why bible study is undertaken in the beginning of the program. Scriptural study is also intended to help participants find the personal meaning of the Scripture for their lives.
Another important aspect of the process is community building, through social and interpersonal time. It is more comfortable on any voyage if you have a community of people with whom you can enjoy the journey.
When does RCIA start?
RCIA is a series of stages of formation, each with a slightly different focus, that are marked by a ritual steps helping the person from one stage to the next.
Our journey begins every fall with our first stage of formation. During this stage, we meet weekly to reflect on how God is calling us and what it means to have faith in Jesus. There is plenty of time to ask questions and discern if this is the right step for you.
In January, we celebrate the Rite of Acceptance. This stage publicly marks our desire to officially enter formation for initiation into the Catholic Church. This ritual moves us into our second stage of formation. From this point on, we reflect more deeply on the Sunday scripture, and examine Catholic beliefs, teachings, customs and traditions as they relate to our lives.
At the beginning of Lent, (the 40 days prior to Easter), we celebrate the Rite of Election at Holy Name Cathedral. This stage recognizes our progress in faith formation and our readiness to receive the sacraments. This third period of formation, which coincides with the season of Lent, is more reflective and prayerful, including many special celebrations and rituals (Scrutinies and Blessings) passed down from the early Church.
We celebrate the Sacraments and our full initiation into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil Service (after sundown on Holy Saturday—the evening before Easter Sunday)! However, this is not the end, but rather the beginning of your life as a fully initiated disciple!
We continue to meet in the next stage of formation (Mystagogy) , gathering during the Easter Season (the 50 days after Easter) to help launch us into the next step of our faith journey and the rest of our lives as Catholic disciples of Christ.
A note for those who are not sure:
This is a faith journey. Many of us come to this process with different experiences of life and faith. If you are not sure about starting, know that our parish is ready and open to walk with you as you discern how God might be calling you into a deeper relationship.
The RCIA process is definitely a commitment of time and energy, but each Easter we hear folks say it was time well spent and how fast the months really flew by. We will work hard to give you the experiences and tools you will need to not only make this commitment of faith, but also to keep it!
If you are unsure this is the right step for you, know that we certainly welcome folks who are still exploring their options. The RCIA helps people find their way on their spiritual journey. If in this process you come to feel this isn’t right for you, or not the right time, that is ok, too!