The RCIA process is the normal way in which adults become full, active, participating members of the Roman Catholic Church. Not just a "convert class" with a new name, the RCIA is the Church's guide for forming and welcoming those who seek to become full members through a conversion of mind and heart. RCIA helps adults grow in their relationship with God, become familiar with Catholic teachings and practices, get acquainted with people in the community and get involved in service within the community.
RCIA involves the whole community and just as it is a journey of conversion for the person participating in the initiation process, it can be a journey of conversion for the whole parish as well. The sponsors who walk with the candidates - supporting them, praying for them, witnessing their faith, guiding them along the path, cannot help but experience some kind of conversion themselves. Likewise, the Christian community that supports, prays for, guides and celebrates with the candidates, also renews its own conversion to God in Christ.
The entire Church community is responsible for the initiation of its newest members. By observing our prayer, words, deeds, and actions in the parish and broader community, our newest members learn what it means to live as a Catholic Christian today. Baptized members of the community serve as sponsors to the candidates. A sponsor is an active member of the parish who walks with the candidate on their journey, guiding them along the way. Members of the community also serve as catechists (teachers) for the process of initiation; others may serve as coordinators and assistants in various aspects of the process. Through participation in the liturgical rites of initiation that usually happen at Sunday Mass, especially in the months before Easter, the church community recognizes and celebrates the candidates, and members of the parish are asked to pray with and for those in the initiation process.
The process can last as long as several years, or for a much shorter time, depending upon how the person is growing in faith, what questions they encounter, and how God leads them on this journey. During this time, they consider what God is saying to them in the Scriptures, what changes in their life they need to make to respond to God's inspiration, and what Baptism in the Catholic Church means. Each individual's journey is unique and personal, and all are encouraged to proceed only at a pace comfortable to them.
RCIA is for anyone interested in learning more about the Catholic Church. Unbaptized persons follow the process to help them grow in awareness of God's call to conversion, as well as, ways to respond to that call. They are called Catechumens. People already Baptized in another Christian church seeking "full communion with the Church" are not Baptized again, but make a profession of faith after participating in a formation program to help them understand the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church. They are called candidates, Baptized but uncatechized. Catholic adults who never received the Sacrament of Confirmation may also participate in the process of continuing conversion which is completed with the reception of the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Communion.
The process culminates at the Easter Vigil liturgy on Holy Saturday, the evening before Easter Sunday, when Catechumens and Candidates are presented to the Church community and celebrate the Sacraments of Initiation. The previously unbaptized receive the Sacrament of Baptism. Now called The Elect, the previously Baptized make a profession of faith; all are confirmed and receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
Through the RCIA process, our Parish participates in the Mission of the Church. We make new disciples and we renew the old faithful ones. We welcome any and all inquiries about the Catholic faith and the RCIA process. Interested persons, or those who know someone who might be interested, may talk with the Pastor by calling: 841- 4481 or Lorena McNamara, RCIA Coordinator by calling: 841-4361.
To learn the history of RCIA and the specifics of the process, or about the teachings of the Catholic Church, the following websites are recommended.