Exploring the Catholic Faith (RCIA)

Exploring the Catholic Faith

Are you interested in finding out more about the Catholic Church?  Are you seeking a deeper relationship with God?  Do you desire a sense of belonging to a community of faith or a greater fulfillment of your mission in life?

If you have never been baptized or were baptized in another Christian Church and are considering becoming Catholic or were baptized in the Catholic Church but were not raised in the faith and did not receive First Eucharist, we invite you to consider beginning the process of initiation (RCIA) into the Catholic Church. 

What is R.C.I.A.?

RCIA (The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) is the process that is established by the Catholic Church for those individuals who desire to receive the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist). There is an initial period of inquiry (the “Becoming Catholic” sessions) where individuals are able to learn more about the Catholic faith without fully committing to the process. After this, the catechumens (not baptized) and candidates (baptized but not Catholic) who commit to the RCIA process begin a period of enlightenment and purification as they await the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation at Easter.
The initiation process also involves the parish community; inviting them into a renewal of faith as it prepares and welcomes new members into the Church.

The Process:

Exploring the Catholic Faith: Inquiry Sessions (Period of Inquiry)

• There are five (5) sessions beginning Sunday, September 29th at 10:15 A.M. in the Youth Room that discuss basic truths of Christianity and provide the opportunity to ask questions regarding Catholicism.

• It is recommended that all sessions be attended, but this is not necessary to join the RCIA process. By attending all or any of these sessions, you are NOT committing to the RCIA process, rather just exploring and discerning your participation in it.

Becoming Catholic: What Catholics Believe (Period of Catechumenate)

• The next stage of RCIA is called the Catechumenate and during this stage, we will explore the particulars of what Catholic’s believe.

• This stage follows an important Rite of Initiation which occurs in November that signals the participants desire to continue in the initiation process.
Becoming Catholic: Life of Discipleship (Period of Purification and Enlightenment)

• The third stage of RCIA begins with the Rite of Election or Call to Continuing Conversion that usually occurs on the first Sunday of Lent.

• At this time, we will discuss what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and learn how to live out the Catholic faith in our everyday lives.

• Usually, at this point, the period of discernment to receive the Sacraments of Initiation or not has come to a close.

• This period ends at the Easter Vigil, when those seeking baptism are baptized and those seeking full communion with the Catholic Church are welcomed and fully initiated.

Being Catholic: Living It Out (Period of Mystagogia)

• Following the Easter Vigil and the full initiation of those becoming Catholic, the RCIA community continues to meet for several more weeks.

• During this time, we continue to process how to live out the Catholic faith, especially through the Sacraments.
• Though we only meet for a few weeks following the Easter Vigil, Mystagogy technically lasts for a year. It is in this first year that the parish community reaches out and makes sure the neophyte (newly baptized and/or initiated) is feeling welcomed and supported in their new faith and relationship with Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church.

How to Participate:

If you are interested in attending the Inquiry sessions or joining the initiation process, please contact Mary Burns at mburns@stcharleshartland.org or 262-367-0800 x 212.