Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
The RCIA program involves a four-step process and is an educational and spiritual journey. It is a journey to learn what the Catholic Church believes, teaches and practices in its’ doctrines and relationship with the three persons of our triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If you are a member of another religious denomination, do not have any religious affiliation, or are a Catholic who has not completed the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation), the RCIA process is for you. Our goal in the RCIA program is to help you become informed, faithful, and practicing Catholics. We have a team of Catholics who, through weekly sessions which include lectures, video presentations and reviews of handout material, provide attendees with information about our faith, our beliefs, and the practices of the Church. If individuals continue through the process and complete the requirements of RCIA, they become full, active, and participating members of the Catholic Church.
The first step in the RCIA process begins with a period of inquiry. Whether the individual is prompted by a family member, a friend, what they have read in an advertisement, or heard in the church, it is by the Holy Spirit who guides the individual to consider inquiring more about what we believe and teach. To begin the RCIA process, the individual makes initial contact with the Religious Education Office. The office staff will schedule a meeting with the individual to exchange contact information, to learn more about the details of the process, and to receive a schedule of classes and the curriculum. During the inquiry phrase, individuals begin to learn more about God, the Church, and the purpose and meaning of life. As the inquirers learning and discernment continues, they become better aware of their mission in life.
The second step of RCIA begins as the individual’s desire to know more about God and His Church grows, and they decide they would like to continue to attend class to learn more about the faith and the Church. Individuals enter into a more formal period of growth as they begin more preparation to join the Church. During this period, the individual participates in the Rite of Acceptance of Catechumenate and Welcoming of Candidates. Becoming more attuned to the teachings and Traditions of the Church, and through the help of a selected sponsor, the individual gain more support and companionship from fellow Catholics. These sponsors encourage and assist them in their journey to join the Church and begin practices of the faith.
During the third step of the process, individuals finalize their preparations to become fully initiated members of the Catholic Church. This period, the Rite of Election and Period of Purification and Enlightenment, brings to close the initial education phase, but it is only meant to be the beginning of a life-long journey of learning and practicing the faith. Individuals in this phase take on a more meditative approach on the will of God for their life, and with a more intense life of prayer they prepare to receive the initial sacraments of the Church.
The fourth step of the RCIA process includes several sessions where the individual reflects on the commitment they have made to God, the Church, and the local community. It is a time to venture a bit deeper into the liturgical celebrations, the ministries of the Church, and to focus more on the resurrection and glorification of our Lord Jesus Christ.
RCIA classes start in September of each year.
To begin your journey, or to answer your questions about the RCIA program aplease contact the Religious Education Office at 717-263-9541. We look forward to meeting you!