RCIA or the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is the way that those interested in the Catholic Church learn about the faith and join our community. The process traces its roots back to the earliest days of Christian communities.
The process is for . . .
Those never baptized who would like to become a Catholic,
Those baptized in another Christian Church who would like to become Catholic, or
Those already baptized as a Catholic but who have not received the Sacraments of Eucharist or Confirmation.
There are various stages of the process:
The first stage is called the Pre-Catechumenate. It will begin formally on August 29 and conclude with the Rite of Welcome and Acceptance in early December. The group of those who are inquiring about becoming Catholic along with a group of Catholic sponsors will meet on Tuesday evenings (7:00-9:00 pm) in the parish hall for instruction, discussion, prayer and reflection about following Christ as a Catholic Christian. It is a time for the inquirer to ask questions and search to see if Catholicism is right for them.
The next stage is called the Catechumenate. It starts with the Rite of Welcome and Acceptance which declares the individual's intention to become Catholic at the Easter Vigil. During this period, the group of candidates begins to worship with the community during the first part of Sunday Mass. They are then dismissed for further study of the Word of God. Tuesday evening meetings continue throughout this stage of the process.
The third stage is called Purification and Enlightenment. It begins with the Rite of Election at the Cathedral on the first Saturday of Lent. At this rite, the Bishop welcomes the candidates into the Church. The six-week Lenten season is a time for the candidates to examine their hearts for readiness to celebrate the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist on Holy Saturday evening.
The final stage is called Mystagogy, which means to "savor the mystery." It is a time for new Catholics to reflect upon the mystery of their discipleship, the love of God and neighbor and the experience of belonging to the faith community. This stage takes place during the Easter season, which ends on Pentecost Sunday in a celebration of the first coming of the Holy Spirit.
Everyone is always welcome to come and worship with us. In fact, that's about the best way to find out more about us!
If you are interested in becoming Catholic or if you would like more information about this process at Visitation Parish, please call Teresa Albright at 753-5155 x1306.
The RCIA process follows the ancient practice of the church and was restored by the Second Vatican Council as the normal way adults prepare for baptism. In 1974, the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults was formally approved for use in the United States.