Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (R.C.I.A.)
RCIA is a gradual initiation into the Catholic tradition and a way of life based on the teachings, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The RCIA process in Saint Francis of Assisi Parish is ongoing. Anyone interested in exploring the Catholic tradition may begin at any time. We meet on Wednesdays from 6:30-8pm. Contact Deacon Denzil Lobo for more information about this ministry.
The length of the entire program varies with each individual. For unbaptized participants, called Catechumens, the journey takes at least a year and culminates in the rites of initiation – Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist – celebrated at the Easter Vigil. For persons who have been baptized in another Christian tradition, called Candidates, the length of the process can be much shorter. Candidates are also received into full communion with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil, although this may take place at any time during the year.
The RCIA is divided into four distinct periods. As people move from one stage to the next, they celebrate certain rites with the Catholic community.
Stages of R.C.I.A.
This is a period of informal inquiry into Christianity as practiced in the Catholic Church. During weekly session, conversation centers on a variety of topics of concern to the inquirers. Each participant decides if and when to continue to the next stage of the process. Should an inquirer decide to proceed, he or she participates in the Rite of Acceptance and Welcome, celebrated during the Sunday liturgy.
During this period, the Catechumens and Candidates are invited to move more deeply into communion with God and the parish community. They continue to attend regular meetings during which the Sunday readings are explored and various Catholic Christian teachings are discussed. Also, the participants sit together at Mass on Sunday and are dismissed before the Liturgy of the Eucharist to “break open” the Word of God and reflect more deeply on the scriptures. Participants are accompanied by companions (Godparents for the unbaptized; Sponsors for the baptized) who walk with them on their journey toward full communion with the Catholic Church. Those who decide to become Catholic move to the next stage by celebrating the Rite of Election on the first Sunday of Lent.
⇒ Purification and Enlightenment
This period coincides with the six week Lenten preparation for Easter. It is a time for more intense deepening of one’s relationship with Jesus and his church, opening to God’s grace, acknowledging weaknesses and celebrating God’s healing presence. This period culminates at the Easter Vigil, when Catechumens celebrate the sacraments of initiation with the parish community and, along with the candidates, enter into full communion with the Church.
The new Catholics meet a few more times to reflect on and explore their baptismal commitment to building God’s reign on earth. As the RCIA journey ends, the entire parish welcomes the new members and invites them to become involved in the vibrant life of the Saint Francis of Assisi parish family.