THE RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS (RCIA)
Connie Benko, Program Co-Chairperson
Rose Marie Patin, Program Co-Chairperson
What is RCIA?
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the process through which interested adults are gradually introduced to the Roman Catholic faith and way of life. The RCIA is a communal process and involves a number of stages punctuated by liturgical rites to aid and assist the potential convert toward the final rite at the Easter Vigil at which time they will become full members of the Roman Catholic Church.
The most important thing to keep in mind about the RCIA is this: it is not merely a new way to prepare adults for baptism; these are only the first steps. The goal of the process is full communion which means “full, conscious, and active participation" in the Eucharist and in the whole life of the Catholic Faith Community. RCIA helps adults to grow in their relationship with God, become more familiar with Catholic teachings and practices, get acquainted with people in the parish, and get involved in service within the parish or the wider community.
Who is RCIA for?
1. Persons in need of Baptism.
2. Persons baptized in another Christian tradition who desire to become Catholic.
3. Persons baptized Catholic in need of First Communion and/or Confirmation.
How does St. Edmond attract inquirers each year for those who want to become Catholic?
The short answer is you! St Edmond has inquirers year after year, and it is thanks to your cooperation with the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we as a parish community open our hearts to welcome new members. The invitation to inquire about the Catholic faith happens in our families, in the workplace, in gatherings with friends and neighbors, and in our daily contacts. As we begin a new year of RCIA let us give thanks to God as He continuously strengthens each of us who seek to do His will in offering a gentle, humble, and clear welcome to the Catholic faith. "Go out into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15)
If I am interested in learning more about the Catholic faith and possibly becoming a Catholic, what should I do?
Inquirers should call the parish office to get more information about the RCIA process. There is an Open House on September 19, 2016 at 7:00 PM in Rooms 1 and 3 of the Education & Social Center at which time you will meet the RCIA team and learn more about the process. The Inquiry phase of RCIA will meet on Monday evenings from September 26, 2016 until December 19, 2016. This is a period of learning about Catholicism before making a commitment. Click here or check our Parish Events tab for specific meeting dates, time, and location
If I am already Catholic, how does RCIA apply to me?
Most Catholics have had an individual in their lives who has made an impact on their Catholic faith. You could be that person!
Individuals seeking full communion with God in the Catholic Church need an RCIA Sponsor or Godparent to assist them on their spiritual journey. These mentors will be witnesses to the faith assisting in the evangelization process along with furthering their own education and deepening their own conversion to Jesus Christ in His Church.
By mentoring a person in their spirituality you play a critical role in welcoming them into an existing parish community through the various liturgical celebrations, parish activities, faith sharing, and communal service ministries here at St. Edmond.
Consider becoming actively involved with the RCIA process.
How is RCIA structured?
There are four stages to the RCIA process (see below) which begins in September and continues into early May.
How does the RCIA Process involve the Parish Community?
- At the Rite of Acceptance and Rite of Welcoming, the community welcomes the Catechumens and Candidates
- At the Rites of Sending/Election, the community affirms and supports the Elect and the Candidates to continuing conversion
- At the Lenten Scrutinies, the community prays for the spiritual healing of the Elect
- At the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil, the community welcomes the Elect into the Church.
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Please invite anyone you know who may be interested in learning more about the Catholic faith to come to the RCIA sessions. Click here or check our Parish Events tab for specific meeting dates, time, and location.
The RCIA Process
RCIA sessions are held September through May on Monday evenings. Click here or check our Parish Events tab for specific meeting dates, time, and location. The program is defined by four periods of formation each marked by the celebration of liturgical rites in the parish:
The inquiry, the first stage, is a time to seek, to ask questions, to begin to learn about the Catholic Church. There are no commitments made or asked of during this time. Inquirers are encouraged to attend Mass and to begin to feel comfortable with the Catholic community.
RITE OF ACCEPTANCE & PERIOD OF THE CATECHUMENATE
This part of the journey begins with a liturgical rite called the Rite of Acceptance, where the candidates (already baptized) and the catechumens (unbaptized) are introduced, welcomed and blessed by the faith community. This is period of learning, a study of the Church’s doctrine and practices. This is also the period in which the candidates and catechumens are ask to attend the same Mass each Sunday. After the homily, they are dismissed to further pray and share that Sunday’s scripture readings. The Catechumenate process extends until the beginning of Lent.
RITE OF ELECTION & PERIOD OF ENLIGHTENMENT AND PURIFICATION
The Rites of Sending and Election usher in the Period of Enlightenment and Purification. The catechumen or candidates discern, with the help of their sponsor and the parish RCIA team, that God is calling them to receive the sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil.
The catechumens and candidates are now called the elect. The weeks of Lent are a time of intense prayer as the elect prepare themselves to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord at Easter and to receive the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and first Eucharist).
On the Sundays of Lent, the elect are prayed for in a special way to help them prepare more fully for the sacraments. The sponsors continue to accompany the elect in Church and support them in their Lenten preparation.
INITIATION & MYSTAGOGIA
On Holy Saturday, the parish assembles for the Easter Vigil. The Easter Vigil is the primary celebration of the Lord’s resurrection and is, therefore, the most appropriate occasion for the elect to celebrate their Baptism or Profession of Faith, Confirmation and first Eucharist.
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Arrangements can be made to accommodate those who are interested in joining the program throughout the year. For more information or to register, contact the Parish Office at 302 - 227 - 4550 or email email@example.com.