The Rite of Christian Initiation is a process that assists people in discerning to become members of the Roman Catholic Church. The process focuses on the spiritual formation of the person through the handing-on of the rich faith tradition of the Catholic Church. Participants study the beliefs and practices of our faith as well as engage in the communal worship and mission of the parish community.
What is the first step?
The RCIA Team will meet with anyone who is interested in becoming a Catholic for an initial interview. The RCIA sessions usually begin in late September and continue through April. Please fill out the form left in the church foyer or at the parish office. Contact Brian Egan at email@example.com, or Debbie, at the parish office (254-698-4110) for assistance.
Since the RCIA process is about conversion to Jesus Christ and His message, then it is appropriate that persons have a suitable amount of time for reflection and study. One can expect to receive an understanding of Catholic beliefs and practices, to experience the richness of parish life in worship, sacraments and service to others in need, and to discover communal support through one to one sharing of faith in the weekly sessions. It is essential for anyone who is thinking about becoming Catholic to have some experience of attending Mass on Sundays. The richness of the Catholic faith and tradition has a depth and breadth that needs to be explained and experienced.
I. Period of Evangelization and the Precatechumenate*
The RCIA begins with several weeks of inquiry sessions in September of each year, followed by a more lengthy study of Catholic doctrine. The process is marked by stages and periods so that participants are gradually immersed in the life of the Church. This is a time for inquiry and introduction to gospel values; an opportunity for the beginnings of faith.
II. Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens
This is the liturgical rite, usually celebrated on some annual date or dates, marking the beginning of the catechumenate proper, as the candidates express, and the Church accepts, their intention to respond to God's call to follow the way of Christ.
III. Period of the Catechumenate
This is the time in duration corresponding to the progress of the individual, for the nurturing and growth of the catechumen's faith and conversion to God. Celebrations of the word and prayers of exorcism and blessing are meant to assist the process.
IV. Rite of Election or Enrollment of Names
This is the liturgical rite, usually celebrated on the First Sunday of Lent, by which the Church formally retifies the catechumens' readiness for the Sacraments of Initiation, and the catechumens, now the elect, express the will to receive these sacraments.
V. Period of Purification and Enlightenment
This is the time immediately preceding the elects' initiation, usually the Lenten season preceding the celebration of this initiation at the Easter Vigil. It is a time of reflection, intensely centered on conversion, marked by celebration of the scrutinies and presentations, and of the preparation rites on Holy Saturday.
VI. Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation
This is the liturgical rite, usually integrated into the Easter Vigil, by which the elect are initiated through Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist.
VII. Period of Postbaptismal Catechesis or Mystogogy
This is the time, usually the Easter season, following the celebration of initiation, during which the newly initiated experience being fully a part of the Christian community by means of pertinent Catechesis and particularly by participation with all the faithful in the Sunday Eucharistic celebration. (* Adapted from Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults: Study Edition, p. 14)
1. What if someone wants to learn about being Catholic but is unsure if they really want to convert? Is the RCIA process the best path?
Yes, it is. The RCIA begins with an initial time for inquiry that focuses on questions about Catholicism along with some introductory study of Catholic beliefs and practices. The process is meant to be non-threatening and open-ended so that anyone with a genuine interest in the Catholic faith can discover if becoming Catholic is the life long choice they wish to make.
2. Does everyone need a sponsor? Who can be a sponsor?
Yes, everyone does need a sponsor who can make the same commitment to attending the RCIA sessions and hopefully is also a St. Paul parishioner. Part of the immersion into the Church is getting involved in parish life that is more easily facilitated by a St. Paul parishioner. The sponsor requirements are explained on the Sponsor Inquiry Form for St. Paul Chong Hasang Church.
3. What if I have questions about marriage or have been married before?
Every person with a marriage question is asked to talk directly to the pastor (Fr. Richard O'Rourke, M.S.C.) as each situation is personal and deserves private attention.
RCIA classes for the new school year will begin on Thursday, Oct. 6th, 2016 at 7 pm in the Old Parish Hall. Classes are every Thursday through April, 2017. Questions? Contact Brian Egan at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Debbie, at the parish office (254-698-4110).
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