THE RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS (RCIA)
What is RCIA?
RCIA is the process by which adults are received into the Catholic Church. The process is based upon the ancient Catechumenate (the model used in the early times of the Church and restored by Vatican II). The specifics of the process can vary with each person: “The rite of initiation is suited to a spiritual journey of adults that varies according to the many forms of God’s grace, the free cooperation of the individuals, the action of the Church, and the circumstances of time and place”.
In the usual case, the process at St. Cecilia begins in September, reaches its climax at the Easter Vigil Mass when the sacraments of Christian initiation (Baptism for those who have not been previously baptized, Confirmation, and First Holy Eucharist) are received, and then continues through to Pentecost Sunday in May.
The RCIA involves four stages:
The Inquiry or Pre-Catechumenate Stage: This stage occurs continually year-round and is a time when non-Catholic persons who are interested in learning more about the Church are given the opportunity to ask questions in whatever setting they prefer (personal meetings, group meetings, emails, telephone calls). There is no obligation on the part of the person making an inquiry to attend anything or do anything further; and they are welcome to remain at this stage for as long as they wish.
The Catechumenate Stage: For those persons who choose to move on in the process, this is the stage in which the majority of the teaching about the Catholic Faith and Church occurs. At St. Cecilia, we have weekly classes held on Tuesday nights and attendance at Masses. Its beginning is marked by a liturgical rite. Each person is again welcome to remain at this stage for as long as they wish, or move on to the next stage.
The Purification and Enlightenment Stage: This stage typically coincides with Lent. It begins with a liturgical rite and ends with the reception of the sacraments of Christian initiation.
The Mystagogy Stage: Having received the graces from the sacraments of Christian initiation, this stage is a “time for deepening the Christian experience, for spiritual growth, and for entering more fully into the life and unity of the community”.
Who is invited to attend The RCIA?
• Non-Catholic persons who want to learn about the Catholic Faith.
• Persons who want to join the Catholic Church through Baptism or through a Profession of Faith (for those who have already been baptized), Confirmation, and First Holy Eucharist.
• Persons who were baptized Catholic as infants, but did not receive further religious education, First Reconciliation/Confession, First Holy Eucharist, or Confirmation.
• Any Catholic person who wants to learn more about the Catholic Faith.
Does anyone help me through this process?
Yes, in addition to St. Cecilia Parish’s RCIA Director and teachers, each person who decides to proceed beyond the Inquiry Stage will have a sponsor (a confirmed and practicing Catholic), whom they can choose, who will walk with them throughout the journey. In fact, the entire parish community of St. Cecilia will be with them and beside them during the process.
How do I get more information about The RCIA?
For more information, please contact Fr. Joseph Mitchell via email or by calling the St. Cecilia Parish Office at 206-842-3594. We look forward to hearing from you!
If you would like to check out more information online, please visit http://catholicscomehome.org, an informative site devoted to aiding discernment.