RCIA is the way in which adults become full, active and participating members of the Catholic Church. It’s not just a six or nine month program of learning about the church, but it is a way for those seeking to enter more fully into the heart of God, relationship with Jesus, and the life of the faith community. Many people seeking to join the Catholic Church have already been baptized in another Christian Church. You will not be re - baptized.
How do people begin to consider to join the Catholic Church?
This is unique for each individual. Maybe you’ve been married to or seeking to be married to someone who is Catholic or you’ve had conversations with other Catholics. Maybe a significant life experience has caused you to desire a deeper relationship with Jesus. This is what is called the First Step or Period of Inquiry. If you see yourself in one of these situations or are just simply feeling restless and like there should be more, you are invited to contact the Parish Office and you will be connected with the RCIA coordinator. It is in this step that you can begin to meeting and ask questions about the Catholic faith and reflect on your own faith journey to this point. This does not mean you have entered the process, it means only that you are inquiring.
The next step is the Rite of Acceptance. Once you have become surer in your desire to know more about the Catholic Church you would then publicly pronounce your faith within the context of the Mass. While this can seem extremely vulnerable it is more for us the parish to know who you are and then to surround you in prayer and support during this process. Through this rite you and your sponsor are welcomed and the parish commits to pray for you through this process and beyond. This begins usually a 12 – 14 week period of formation time spent with others who are seeking to join, the sponsors and also members of the RCIA formation team.
Rite of Election is often celebrated on the First Sunday of Lent, ending the formal study and entering the time of intense prayer. On the Sundays during Lent the “elect” are prayed for in a special way to help them prepare more fully for the sacraments.
Initiation and Mystagogia. This is the step where those who’ve been preparing are fully initiated through the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation at the Easter Vigil. While this is the culmination of your formation it is only the beginning to a lifetime of faith within the Church.
While this seems like a lengthy process involving gathering times that you might not be able to attend due to work or family schedules, please know that we can individualize your formation journey to best suit you. After all we are not a “one size fits all” church. “We are many parts, we are all one Body.”
If you know someone who has been seeking or would like to just talk through and process their own faith story please invite them to contact the Parish office, the Pastor or RCIA coordinator. We would be happy to accompany you on this journey; wherever it leads.
A Prayer as you discern this step into deeper faith:
For a new Beginning
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
To Bless the space Between Us – John O’Donohue