Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
The RCIA process explores the meaning of faith and how Catholics express that faith in the community and in the world. It offers a chance to ask questions, raise doubts, acquire information, share, learn and grow. The process helps seekers to discern whether or not God is calling them to become Catholic. Those who complete the process celebrate the Sacraments of Baptism (if needed), First Eucharist and Confirmation at the Easter Vigil.
RCIA sessions (September – May) will take place at St. William. In an information session will be held Sunday, September 15 at 11:30am, in the Parish Hall Library. Dates and times will be decided as registration begins. Although the format will vary, most meetings will have three parts: input on the topic for the evening by a priest or lay person, an opportunity for the members of the group to share ideas and experiences relating to the topic, and time getting to know one another.
What’s the commitment? First of all, you’re not making a commitment to join the Catholic Church. You won’t be pressured into making any decisions; you can stop attending the meetings at any time. While many past participants have chosen to join the Church, others have not. That’s OK. The Spirit of God works in us differently, and the process requires that all involved respect those individual differences. You will continue to be welcome at Mass and the meetings and in the parish no matter what your decision.
The process is for anyone who wants to know more about the Catholic Church. It is right for you if you are………..
Ten possible reasons to join RCIA
- You’re marrying a Catholic. Sharing and practicing your faith together is a great foundation for married life.
- You’re already married to a Catholic and your kids are being raised Catholic. It’s natural to want to feel a closer bond by sharing in the sacramental experiences of those you love.
- Your children are learning about the Catholic faith. You just want to learn more about this Catholic tradition of faith, still not sure you ever want to become Catholic.
- You’ve lived in a “Catholic world” all your life so much so that many people assume you already are Catholic. You’d like to find out if you are closer than you think in mind and heart.
- You don’t know much about Catholicism but you have a friend or neighbor who has inspired you to want to learn more about it. With no strings attached, this is a wonderful way to check things out.
- You have suffered through personal loss or personal struggles. You are seeking ways to deepen your spiritual life by checking out the Catholic life of faith.
- You don’t know why, but you feel something urging you to the Catholic Church. It’s probably the Holy Spirit, so it is a good idea to listen up!
- New to Catholicism or new to Christianity
- Part of a Catholic Family, but never really learned about or practiced your faith.
- A Catholic who worries that you don’t really understand the basics of your faith.
If any of these reasons stirs your heart, do not hesitate to contact us.
Art of Welcoming
Each of us who are part of the Catholic community of faith find meaning, fulfillment and hope in and through our relationship to the Lord and our relationship as sisters and brothers in the Church. Each of us, by our very call to discipleship by Christ, is called to share the good news we have found in Jesus and his Church with others. We need to be about the gentle art of inviting, welcoming and witnessing.
In relationships you have had over the years, maybe you have heard a family member, a friend or a neighbor express interest or ask questions about our Catholic faith tradition. A gentle invitation from you to consider participating in the RCIA process may be the moment of grace that will make a difference for someone who has felt drawn in the past and whose faith journey still causes them to search.
You might want to share this information about the RCIA with anyone to whom you wish to offer an invitation. Perhaps to give them support and encouragement, you might offer to accompany them to one of the meetings.
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults has four stages. How quickly one moves through these stages varies from person to person. At St. William, we want to make sure that you take all the time you need to make a good and free choice, without overly prolonging the time before you can join us at the table of the Lord.
Here is a brief description of the four stages of RCIA:
- Inquiry–This is just what it sounds like; a time to ask questions. In the beginning we just want to help you ask questions and clarify basic information about who Catholics are and what we believe. We want to help you move toward the first embrace of faith or to stir up the gift of faith that you have already received. We’ll encourage you to pray, join us for Mass, and read your Bible. (Yes. Catholics read and study the Bible.)
- Catechumenate–This is a time of “internship” in the faith. You will learn about what Catholics believe and why they do the things they do. Most of all, however, this is a time of deepening relationship with God and accompanying the Church. It’s a time of discernment and reflection on the question: “Is God calling you to be a Catholic Christian?”
- Purification and Enlightenment–When a person decides that they are called to be Catholic, and the Church affirms that call, RCIA enters a journey of reflection with a focus on prayerful preparation for the reception of the sacraments of initiation (baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist). This time of “retreat” often corresponds with the season of Lent.
- Mystagogia–Finally, after receiving the sacraments of the Catholic Church and entering full communion, the new Catholic spends some time reflecting on the experience of that sacramental life.
For more information regarding RCIA, please contact Nancy Power, DRE, at 912-638-2651 or firstname.lastname@example.org.