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 program through a series of sessions held on Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings throughout the calendar year. You are invited to join us at Mass anytime.

For more information on becoming Catholic or to attend classes, contact:

Coordinator of Adult Catechesis & Evangelization
Marci Houle // 817-481-2685 ext. 222 // mhoule@sfatx.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, which is 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 also 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 Catholics.

WHO IS RCIA FOR?

  • Adults never baptized who might desire to become a Catholic.
  • Adults baptized in another Christian church who might desire to become a Catholic.
  • Adults baptized Catholic who have not received full reception into the church through the Sacraments of Eucharist or Confirmation.

RCIA FOR CHILDREN & RCIA FOR TEENS

Two programs designed for youth, RCIA for Children (age 8 to 8th grade) and RCIA for Teens (high school to age 18), are also available.  The format follows that of the adult RCIA program, but in a manner adapted for the understanding and maturation of children and teens.

COMMON QUESTIONS:

How long does it take? The Rite of Christian Initiation is not a program of exact timing. It is the gradual process of a spiritual journey which may take a short period of time or a number of years. For those interested persons who have not been baptized we offer the RCIA Catechumen program from the early fall through the spring with the Sacraments of Initiation being received at Easter followed by an additional period of deepening instruction for six additional sessions following Easter. For those who have been baptized in another Christian church with the Trinitarian blessing we offer the RCIA Candidate program at two times during the year. The Summer/Fall group 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 group 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. Both sessions experience the six additional sessions of deepening instructions following their Reception. RCIA support continues for all new members throughout the neophyte (first) year of full membership in the Church.

What if I was baptized in another church? If your baptism was done in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (the Trinitarian blessing) and is verified, you will not be baptized again. In the Rite of Initiation, those who have received baptism will make a profession of faith in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and will receive the sacraments of First Eucharist and Confirmation.

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 four times throughout the year, once in each season 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 a member of the Catholic Church. RCIA, as a rite, marks the various steps on the way to full commitment within the Catholic Church in five 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 Director:

  • 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 Period of Catechumenate: Following the Rite of Acceptance and Welcoming (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 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 Paschal Triduum with the Sacraments of Initiation: 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, First Eucharist, and Confirmation 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 their new faith. Their focus during this six-week 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:

Sponsors:
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 engaged in ministry. Sponsors attend classes 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 so if you don’t know a Catholic to choose to sponsor you we will match you with a member from our parish family.

Attendance:
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 Director throughout the process.

Other Commitments:
There are three Saturday retreats during the RCIA process — one fall (typically November), one winter (February) and Holy Saturday. If you are a Candidate you will experience one just 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.