FAQs about RCIA
Are you or someone you know interested in becoming Catholic?
The R.C.I.A., or the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, is the process by which a person enters the Catholic faith. Many individuals are soul-searching and asking questions regarding Christianity and in particular how one can become part of the Catholic Church. Also, many people who have been away from the Church, or who have not completed their sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist) wonder how to return and become active participants.
Who is the R.C.I.A. for?
It is for those who have never been baptized and are seeking information on becoming a Catholic Christian
It is for those who are baptized and have joined us from another Christian denomination but have little knowledge and experience of what it means to be a Catholic Christian. The Catholic Church respects your Christian upbringing and the faith experiences that are part of your life. Becoming Catholic does not mean rejecting your previous faith background. You can now live it out in the Catholic Church.
It is for adult Catholics who would like to complete the sacraments of initiation: (Eucharist and Confirmation)
It is for anyone considering Catholicism as a way of life who wishes to explore the tenets of the faith to inform their decision.
What are some aspects of the process?
STUDY: RCIA sessions are weekly on Wednesday evenings.
WORSHIP: The expectation is that the candidate is participating at Sunday liturgy weekly.
PRAYER: Through participation in Sunday Mass, “retreats”, personal devotional time.
SOCIAL: The community is an important aspect of Christian life. Participation in various parish events is encouraged.
SERVICE: Outreach to others is essential to the Christian way of life. Sponsors introduce their candidates to the opportunities available and help make the connections.
What if I get started and decide this isn’t for me?
Faith in God and the decision to become a member of the Catholic Church are personal choices that must be made in an atmosphere of complete freedom. We will try our best to help you understand what it means to be a Catholic Christian. But we sincerely believe that you must be allowed to use God’s gifts of conscience and free will without feeling any pressure from us.
What is a Sponsor?
A sponsor is a confirmed, active member of the Catholic Church who is willing to be a friend and guide, and to participate in the RCIA with you. A sponsor cannot be the mother or father of the one to be baptized or confirmed. If you don’t know of anyone to ask, the RCIA team stands ready to help.
Is there a cost for participating in RCIA?
No. There is no cost for participating in RCIA.
May I bring a friend?
Yes, we encourage it! As a matter of fact, spouses, fiancés, and sponsors are especially encouraged to join us on a regular basis.
Am I obligated to become Catholic?
There is no obligation on participants to become members of the Catholic Church. Anyone seeking information about the Catholic faith is welcome to attend our sessions. Participants will be encouraged to ask questions and dialog with the material. There are times during the RCIA process for you to explore your intentions and continue to discern God’s call. Everything shared during the sessions will be treated with confidentiality and respect. The RCIA is a time of exploration, where people can ask questions and learn about the Church. People coming from other faith groups may have many questions about Catholicism, and areas where they don’t feel comfortable. Don’t worry. Each person is given the space to question, to think for themselves, and to take all the time they need to make a decision about joining the Church.
What do sponsors do?
Sponsors actively participate in our meetings and celebration of the Sacraments. They converse regularly with the participant in an ongoing process of faith development. Their promise is to be good listeners and to help participants to know where God is leading them without pushing them in any direction.
How does a person become Catholic?
The process is composed of five stages:
The Pre-catechumenate, or inquiry period, consists of informal meetings to explain the process and answer questions about the Roman Catholic Church. This is a time for inquirers to decide whether they wish to continue with the process.
At the beginning of the catechumenate or instruction period (First Sunday in Advent), inquirers are formally welcomed by the Parish community and enter a period of more structured preparation listening to presentations and joining in discussions based on scripture readings and other topics of importance such as the Sacraments, the meaning of the Mass, and Catholic morality and social teaching.
For the Rites of Sending and Election (First Sunday in Lent), the Parish sends the candidates to the Archbishop who, on the part of the entire Catholic Church, accepts the catechumens as the “elect” and blesses the candidates who will be received into the Church at Easter. At this time the Church enters the Lenten period in preparation for the celebration of Christ’s passion, death, and Resurrection. For the candidates this is a period of spiritual purification and enlightenment.
At the Church’s greatest feast, the Vigil of Easter, the “elect” will be baptized and all of the elect and candidates will be confirmed and receive the Eucharist at the Parish community’s greatest liturgical celebration.
Mystagogy, the fifty day period between Easter and Pentecost, the new members of the Church community, called “neophytes”, begin a time of reflection and begin to live out their sacramental call to service in the life of the Church.
If you are interested in becoming a full member of the Catholic Church, RCIA is meant for you. These sessions are for adults who are not baptized or who are coming from another faith. It is also for Catholics who want to celebrate the Sacraments of Eucharist or Confirmation. We meet weekly on Wednesday evenings from 7:00 - 8:30 P.M. in the church Social Hall. Please join us for an information meeting on September 13, 2017 at 7:00 P.M.
If you have any questions or want more information, please email Deacon Mike Houghton below or call the St. John Vianney parish office at