Rite to Christian Initiation for Adults
RCIA is the process that brings people into the Catholic Church. At its core, RCIA is designed to walk the unbaptized through their discovery and entrance into the Christian community as they become full members of the Church. However, there is a variety of situation and circumstances which brings people to the classes. While some are not baptized many others are already baptized Christian and want to become Catholic. Some, though already baptized Catholic, have not been confirmed or received their first Eucharist and desire to complete their initiation into the Church. Of course, some come to the classes for the sake of enrichment.
The program begins in September and culminates with baptism, confirmation and first Eucharist on the Easter vigil. Sessions continue throughout the Easter season to help the newly initiated get settled on their faith journey. Classes typically meet weekly. Some others days throughout the time period are reserved for special events or celebrations. A syllabus for the entire year is given at the beginning of the sessions.
The structure of the class is informal. Topics to be discussed include God; Scripture; history and traditions of the Catholic Church; Jesus the Christ, who he was and what he did; the sacraments, commandments and beatitudes; Mary, and the saints; and the after-life, morality and social teachings are also discussed. These main topics only scratch the surface of the Faith, and there are many more topics discussed. During one session, the interior of St. James Catholic Church is toured. At others sessions the Mass is discussed at length with a “live” teaching Mass at one of them. The selection and role of sponsors is discussed in detail. Although not required, sponsors are welcome to attend every class.
As this is an important step in the lives of those coming into the Church, attendance at the class sessions is expected, but as adults and with busy work schedules and other events occurring in our life, conflicts do occur. All that is requested is that you can attend and participate in class to the best of your ability as you journey on this life-change experience.
If you have been baptized in a Christian denomination, a copy of your baptismal record or certificate is required. If you were baptized Catholic, an original certificate, dated within six months of the Easter celebration from the church where you were baptized, is required. The sooner you can get the material the better.
Our goal is not to merely baptize you or have you become Catholic. Rather it is for you to become an active member of the faith community. Part of being Catholic means doing and sharing. Every one in our faith community supports and encourages you on your journey. This is an ongoing process of conversion, reshaping and changing of the heart, mind and soul.
We cannot possibly teach you everything about the Catholic faith in six or seven months. We are giving a taste and a basic understanding of the faith. It will be up to you to learn more about your faith, through additional reading, classes, prayers and services.