Becoming Catholic

 

Then the RCIA is for you.

 

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. Children over 7 years of age whom were not baptized as infants are also initiated through an adapted process of this Rite. The RCIA is also the venue for people that were baptized in another Christian faith tradition but now desire to participate in the Catholic sacramental life.  

In the RCIA you will experience  Catholic Christianity – who we are, what we believe, how we pray, how we live our lives as a community of believers. The RCIA process is a period of reflection, prayer, instruction, discernment, and formation.  But this spiritual journey is more than just faith formation – at its core, the RCIA is a journey of conversion and relationship with Jesus Christ and his Church.   

The RCIA process is ongoing and offered year round.  This journey of faith begins when you are ready to begin.  There is no set timetable and the people on this journey are encouraged to take as much time as they need.

How do you get started?

Each person begins with an initial meeting with the RCIA coordinator. The RCIA for children process is a meeting with both the parent(s) and child.There generally are four steps on the RCIA journey.   However, each person's journey of faith is different and unique to them and may not follow the timeline of steps listed.  If you want to learn more or think you are being called to become Catholic, contact Cyndi to join with others who are interested in experiencing what being Catholic is all about.  You may also download this brochure What are you Seeking?:  The RCIA at St. Bernard   

Step one: Inquiry or I'm just looking

In this first stage, this is where those interested are welcomed and encouraged to make inquiries about the Catholic faith along with other seekers. Participants are invited to sessions where they are welcome to ask questions and fully discern if God is calling them to become a Catholic Christian.  Whatever someone's  reason or interest level, ALL ARE WELCOME, ALL THE TIME. Inquiry sessions are on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the Month in the evening. (call for more details and times) . If those days don't work - let us know and we can work with you. If you choose to move forward this period concludes with the Rite of Acceptance/Rite of Welcome. Those who enter the inquiry process are asked to begin attending Mass on Sundays.

Step two: Catechumenate or Learning about the Faith

This is a period of sharing in the teachings of Jesus found in the Gospels and exploring the traditions of the Catholic Church. If those who are at this stage choose to move forward, this period concludes with the Rite of Election. Participants who move into the catechumenate are asked to continue to attend Sunday Mass, where those who are not yet baptized will be dismissed after the readings to participate in a process called "Breaking Open the Word. " Those already baptized would stay through the entire Mass. All RCIA participants should expect to attend all the scheduled RCIA sessions, as well as all rites associated with the process. 

Step Three: Purification and Enlightenment (Preparation for Sacraments/Easter Vigil) or Getting ready for rebirth!

This phase usually coincides with Lent; although, for some who are already baptized, the time of year may be different. It is a period of prayer and a time for building strengths and overcoming weaknesses in the faith which culminates with the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism {if needed}, Confirmation, and Eucharist). Participants are asked to continue to attend Sunday Mass, the Breaking Open the Word sessions and they should expect to attend all the scheduled RCIA sessions, as well as all rites and retreats associated with the process.

Step Four Mystagogy (Deepening of Faith) - Reflecting and delving deeper

Although this is the final stage of the process where the newly-initiated work toward a deeper of understanding of  Jesus’ death and resurrection, the journey of living out this new faith is just beginning.    This formal time of gathering is a time of reflection on what they have experienced and a time of direction and beginning the process of living out their new faith. Our new Catholics should be attending weekly Mass and work towards becoming increasingly more involved in the activities of the parish.

 

Children’s Initiation (RCIA adapted for children)

The Children’s Initiation process is available for any child who is aged 8 and older who is not baptized or who was baptized in another Christian tradition.

Children will gather with the Initiation team (typically in late August or early September) to begin the RCIA journey adapted for children. In this process, children grow in God’s love, hear the Word of God, nurture a relationship with the faith community and experience the basics of our faith which lead to being a disciple of Christ. Children celebrate all of the Rites along with the adults.

 

Become a Sponsor or  RCIA Team member!

 Are you a Catholic that is enthused and excited about your faith?  

Are you willing to share your faith and renew it?

Are you an open, caring person interested in supporting new people coming to the Catholic faith?

Would you be willing to provide hospitality for special times in the RCIA process??

 Are you willing to attend occasional classes to become a Catechist?     

Whatever your gifts or availability there is a spot for you on the RCIA Team!

All of our RCIA candidates need a sponsor. Accompanying a person coming into our faith can be a deeply energizing force for your own Catholic faith.   A sponsor is someone who walks with the candidate and supports them through the journey.  Sponsors attend RCIA sessions with their candidate as well as all the rites.   A sponsor must be a fully initiated Catholic in good standing.   Contact Cyndi to become involved.