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    R.C.I.A./Becoming Catholic


    What is R.C.I.A.?

    A History of RCIA

    R.C.I.A. (or simply "RCIA") stands for the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults - and is the prime way in which adults enter the Church as un-baptized or baptized individuals.  RCIA is also the process used for those who are baptized Catholic yet (as adults) they lack both First Holy Communion and Confirmation - thus, the RCIA process provides the road to complete their journey of full initiation.   

    R.C.I.A. has been around since the early Church - and was the method in which the Church prepared un-baptized adults to be received into the Christian Church (which later became known as the Catholic Church).  The R.C.I.A. process was an intense period of study, prayer, and conversion which (in the Church's early days) often lasted up to three years.  During the process, a sponsor would testify to the entire assembly of the conversion, authenticity, and genuine readiness of the individual.  After some time, the process was put aside and in its place private preparation was used

    R.C.I.A. in the Modern Era

    The Second Vatican Council brought back the R.C.I.A., though in a more reduced time frame to help people facing a fast-paced, hectic lifestyle.  Keeping in the spirit of the original preparation, the base elements of study, prayer, community, and discernment remain and are integral, though persons may now possibly enter the Church in a shorter time-frame than the early Church determined.  There is no set time for an RCIA process to run; it varies from parish to parish, and sometimes with person-to-person, depending on readiness.

    The main R.C.I.A. process at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart is roughly nine months, beginning in mid-August and concluding in May (depending on when Easter falls on the calendar, it may take up to ten months).  The decision to accept baptism, or to become a Catholic, or to complete one's Catholic initiation must be the free will of each person.  The Catholic Church does not coerce, guilt, nor do we manipulate this decision.  A person does not have to make a decision by the Easter Vigil; they may choose to discern beyond the standard nine months until they are ready to make a decision.    

    Regardless of a person's age or circumstances, the Church is tasked with the duties, rights, and responsibilities to ensure that each individual meets the requirements set out by the Code of Canon Law, as well as publicly demonstrates the desire, readiness, and lifestyle that reflects acceptance and understanding of the Gospel and becoming a member of the Catholic Church. 

    Is R.C.I.A. a lecture series for anyone to attend?

    R.C.I.A. is a discernment process, not an adult education lecture series or catechism for Catholics seeking to refresh their own knowledge of the faith.  Because of the trust needed for participants to share openly, this process is only for those discerning to enter the Church.  To respect the inherent vulnerability and sensitive nature of the process, we refrain from inviting general visitors/parishioners to attend.  The only non-participants that are permitted are team members, clergy, and sponsors.  With permission from the director, spouses/significant others may attend the sessions with their loved one in a supportive role. 

    Adult Catholics seeking to learn more about the faith should inquire into Adult Education opportunities targeted as open to all, such as Parish Sunday lecture series, Bible Study, That Man is You, The Patricians, Journey, and Theology on Tap (young adults).

    Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 October 2011 15:13