The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is a process developed by the Catholic Church for prospective converts to Catholicism who are above the age of infant baptism. Candidates are gradually introduced to aspects of Catholic beliefs and practices.
Classes are offered on Sunday mornings beginning September 12th at 9:15am in the Library. Please contact Liz Gregorius at (334)324-1320 or email email@example.com.
The parish nursery will be available for all sessions.
How does a person become a Catholic?
The Catholic Church warmly welcomes new members and tries to provide appropriate spiritual formation according to each person’s needs. Often, people who are interested in becoming Catholic fall into categories: people who, whether baptized or unbaptized, have had little or no affiliation with or religious training in the Christian faith; and baptized people who have been active members in other Christian denominations.
Many adults who wish to join the Catholic Church have never been baptized. The church offers unbaptized adults a process of formation in the Catholic Christian faith and way of life called Christian initiation or catechumenate. Christian initiation is a gradual process. It begins somewhat informally with an inquiry period. After the interested person contacts Holy Spirit Parish, he or she will be invited to meet with other people who are exploring the possibility of becoming Catholic. These people have the opportunity to ask questions about the church and to hear about the message of Jesus Christ and how it is lived out in the Catholic Church. A person may continue to participate in these sessions as long as he or she wishes. No commitments are made or expected during this time.
If the person decides to pursue the process of becoming Catholic, he or she enters the catechumenate; unbaptized persons in the catechumenate are called catechumens. The catechumenate provides a structure for the proclamation of the gospel, catechesis (the passing on of the teachings of the church), public and private prayer, spiritual devotion, the observance of the feasts, fasts, Sundays and seasons of the church calendar, direct contact with the members of the parish community and participation in the work of the church for justice and peace. During this time, each catechumen is paired with a sponsor who can serve as a spiritual companion offering support and encouragement.
Through the various rites of the catechumenate, the church marks a person’s journey to full membership. These rites reflect his or her spiritual growth and the community’s loving concern. The climax of the catechumenate process is the celebration of the Sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist, usually at the Easter Vigil, followed by a period for reflection on the sacraments and for integration into the life and mission of the church. From the time an unbaptized person becomes a catechumen until that person celebrates the sacraments of initiation approximately nine months. Baptized adults who have never been formed in the Christian life also participate in the catechumenate process. As they prepare for acceptance into the Catholic Church, they are known as candidates rather than catechumens. Even though the process is the same, the Catholic church takes care to respect the fact that these people truly are baptized. Only when there is good reason to doubt that the person’s baptism took place or was celebrated validly will such a person be baptized before entering the Catholic church. Baptized persons are received into the Catholic church, when they are ready, by making a profession of faith, receiving the sacrament of confirmation and sharing in the Eucharist.
Children who have reached school age, whether they are baptized or unbaptized, will participate in the catechumenate process adapted according to their age.