Who is welcome to begin the RCIA Journey?
All people who are open to discerning their personal experience of faith and to learning more about the Catholic Church are welcome to begin the RCIA process. Many people come to an awareness of their desire to learn about membership in the Catholic Church in various and different ways. Often it may be a personal faith experience, overcoming personal difficulty and tragedy, or a relationship or discussion with a person of faith which leads one to begin this exciting journey. All that is truly required is a sincere desire to learn, to grow, and to develop one’s relationship with God. The RCIA process can be applied to the following 3 groups:
- Unbaptized persons (age of discretion: 7+ years): who have never been baptized and who need a process to help them grow in awareness to God's call to conversion as well as ways to respond to that call. They are considered catechumens.
- Baptized in another Christian church: Those who were baptized into another Christian denomination and wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. They are considered candidates. For baptized Christians interested in possibly joining the Catholic Church, the process will vary depending upon the depth on one's religious and spiritual readiness.
- Baptized, but uncatechized Catholic adults: persons who were baptized as infants and not given any religious instruction in the Catholic faith. These adults will be prepared to celebrate the sacraments of penance, confirmation and Eucharist. They are also considered candidates.
It is important to note that “candidates” do not always need to take part in the full process. If they have been actively living the Christian life in another denomination, they are likely to need very little catechesis and may be welcomed into the Church on any Sunday after a short period of preparation. According to the National Statutes for the Catechumenate, "Those baptized persons who have lived as Christians and need only instruction in the Catholic tradition and a degree of probation within the Catholic community should not be asked to undergo a full program parallel to the catechumenate."
In the case of children who have reached the age of reason (age 7), the pastor of the local parish should be consulted for information about Baptism and the other Sacraments of Initiation. Adult Catholics who were baptized and received their First Eucharist in the Catholic Church and are interested in the Sacrament of Confirmation should contact their local parish office. These are Catholics who have been instructed in the Catholic faith but who have not received the Sacrament of Confirmation. A separate program of adult Confirmation is available to these Catholics, who are then prepared to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Becoming a RCIA Team Member
The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) is a formation process into the full sacramental life of the Catholic Church – including Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation. It is both educational and spiritual, designed to develop the whole person into the Catholic faith. We are seeking motivated and effective volunteer RCIA team members who can help us revitalize our ministry of initiation here in our parishes at Blessed Sacrament & Saint Mary’s.
We need every member of our parishes to intentionally accompany those interested in becoming a Catholic or being fully initiated into the Catholic Church as they take the pilgrim journey to new life in Christ. We also greatly need the help of dedicated RCIA Team members who feel called by God and gifted by the Holy Spirit in a special way to walk with those who come to us seeking initiation into the Church and teaching them along the way.
Please prayerfully consider whether you might be called to be an RCIA Team member. If you are interested please contact Deacon Alan Doty by phone at 508-668-4700. Deacon Alan will be glad to talk with you, answer questions, and provide additional information.