RCIA - An Invitation to Journey in Faith...
When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi,” (which translated means teacher) “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.”
– John 1:38-39a –
The St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Community welcomes you as you seek to enrich your faith life and explore the possibility of becoming a Catholic Christian. Our community shares and celebrates this journey with you, through a process called “The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults” (RCIA). We offer the RCIA through a series of sessions held on Sundays throughout the calendar year. You are invited to join us at the Eucharistic Liturgy anytime, Sundays or weekdays, daily except Tuesday.
For more information on becoming Catholic or to attend meetings, contact:
Coordinator of RCIA
Scott Immel // 817-481-2685 ext. 234 // firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT IS RCIA?
Catholicism is a way of life and becoming Catholic is a journey in faith. RCIA is a process, rooted in Church history designed to educate in the Catholic faith and prepare adults to receive the sacraments of the Church. It seeks, however, to do more than simply give interested persons information. Becoming Catholic involves entering into relationship with Jesus Christ and His community of God’s people. Our belief is that you will enjoy a deeper relationship with God as you become acquainted with members of St. Francis and the Church throughout the world. Your RCIA journey will be a unique time for you. You will no doubt notice how your own life experiences and beliefs have brought you to this point as you listen to God’s invitation to explore the Catholic faith. At the same time, members of the parish are praying for you, attending sessions with you, and sharing their own life stories as followers of Christ in His Church.
WHO IS RCIA FOR?
- Adults and youth over the age of 14 never baptized who desire to become a Christian in the Catholic Church.
- Adults and youth over the age of 14 baptized in another Christian church who desire to join in membership in the Catholic Church.
- Adults and youth over the age of 14 baptized in the Catholic Church Catholic who have not completed their full initiation into the church through the Sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation.
RCIC FOR CHILDREN (The Rite of Christian Initiation for Children)
The Rite of Christian Initiation for Children (RCIC), is the process adapted for those unbaptized, ages 8 to 14, who desire to become a Christian in the Catholic Church. The format follows that of the adult RCIA program, but in a manner adapted for the understanding and maturation of children and teens.
How long does it take? The Rite of Christian Initiation is not time-defined process. It is the process of a spiritual journey which may take a short period of time or a number of years. For those unbaptized seekers we offer the Catechumenate process that begins in September, continues through the spring with the possibility of the Sacraments of Initiation, Baptism, Confimration and the Eucharist, being received at Easter Vigil Liturgy, determined by the readiness of the person and their desire to continue. Following their initiation, the Neophytes begin an additional period of deepening instruction and experiential engagement in the mission of the Church for the next year. Throughout this journey the individual is accompanied by a St. Francis parishioner who is their Sponsor and stays with them through the entire process and beyond.
For those who have been baptized in another Christian church with the Trinitarian formula we offer the Candidate process in three cycles beginning at three times during the year. The Summer/Fall cycle begins in June and concludes in early November with the Reception into Full Communion in the Church occurring on the Sunday celebrating Christ the King just before the Advent season begins. The Fall/Winter cycle begins in September and concludes in February with the Reception into Full Communion in the Church occurring on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday which begins the Lenten season. The Winter/Spring cycle begins in early December and concludes in late May/early June with the Receptino into Full Communion in the Church occuring on Pentecost Sunday. All cycles experience the additional period of deepening instruction and experiential engagement in the mission of the Church following their Reception. Each Candidate also has the support and accompaniment of a Sponsor throughout the entire process and beyond.
What if I was baptized in another church? If your baptism was performed in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (the Trinitarian blessing) and is verified, you will not be baptized again. In the Candidate cycle those who have previously been valdily baptized will receive the sacrament of Reconciliation by making their first confession, and then, to complete their inititiaon into full communion with the Church, will make a profession of faith in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and will receive the sacraments of Confirmation and the Eucharist.
What is the first step? If you are seriously considering becoming a Catholic or would simply like more information about the Catholic faith, please contact the parish office. General Inquiry information sessions are held at various times throughout the year and are announced in the weekly Church bulletin which can be accessed on this site.
What is the process? The Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA), a spiritual journey, is a gradual process within the community of the faithful by which an interested person becomes an initiatied member of the Catholic Church. RCIA, as a rite, marks the various steps on the way to full commitment within the Catholic Church in four (4) specific periods. While there are time frames set forth for each period, the actual time required is determined more by the development of each person and their discernment with the assistance of the Coordinator:
- The Period of Inquiry/Evangelization: This initial period allows the “Inquirer” to become acquainted with the Catholic Church, to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ and to reflect on one’s own life and the stirrings of the heart. The conclusion of this period is marked by the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of the Catechumenate.
- The Period of Catechumenate: Following the Rite of Acceptance (first stage of commitment) the “Catechumen” instruction deepens individual conversion and provides for more in-depth focus on the doctrines of the Catholic faith. The conclusion of this period is marked by the Rite of Election.
- The Period of Purification and Enlightenment: The Rite of Election (second stage of commitment) marks a period of more intense spiritual preparation intended to purify the mind and heart of the “Elect” and to deepen their knowledge of and relationship to Christ. The conclusion of this period is marked by the Rite of Initiation at the Easter Vigil liturgy. Joining with the Church community in the celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ in the Paschal Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday/Easter Vigil) the “Elect” are fully initiated into the Church through the reception of the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and First Eucharist, at the Easter Vigil liturgy (third stage of commitment).
- The Period of Mystagogy: After the completion of their Christian initiation the “Neophyte” enters a period of deepening of their understanding of and experiences in, their new faith. Their focus during this period is development of their personal spiritual life and introduction into full involvement in the Mission of the Church through ministries and outreach (final stage of commitment).
SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER:
Each Inquirer shares your journey with a Catholic “sponsor.” The sponsor is a baptized and confirmed Catholic who is at least 16-years-old, is actively celebrating the sacraments and is actively engaged in ministry. Sponsors attend meetings with you and may attend Mass with you each week to help acquaint you with the St. Francis Catholic community. If you know of a Catholic with whom you would like to share this experience please mention this to the RCIA Director. There are parish volunteers waiting to serve in this capacity. If you don’t know a Catholic to choose to sponsor you we will match you with a member from our parish family.
Sessions are led by trained catechetical teams. Each year many lifelong friendships develop in the sessions as we gather to learn and pray together. While we recognize that “life happens” and you may have to miss an occasional session, regular attendance is vital to the orderly progressive nature of instruction and enlightenment. Missed sessions need to be ‘made up’ but the greatest impact of the sessions is in the presentation, discussions and worship done with the group. Ultimately the complete preparation process is an individual one and its conclusion is not necessarily marked by the number of sessions attended, but rather by the periodic discernment interviews conducted with the Coordinator throughout the process.
There are three Saturday retreats during the RCIA process — one fall (typically November), one winter (February) and the Saturday that is the Easter Vigil. If you are a Candidate you will experience one a few weeks prior to your Reception into Full Communion. Catechumens experience two during your period of Purification and Enlightenment and a final one just before your Initiation. Also, during the Period of Catechumenate and the Period of Purification and Enlightenment (approx. November through Easter) Catechumens, because you cannot yet fully participate in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, are dismissed from Sunday Mass after the Liturgy of the Word to further share scripture to help you grow closer to God.