Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
"The rite of Christian initiation is designed for adults who, after hearing the mystery of Christ proclaimed, consciously and freely seek the living God and enter the way of faith and conversion as the Holy Spirit opens their hearts. By God's help they will be strengthened spiritually during their preparation and at the proper time will receive the sacraments fruitfully"
-Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
Why Be Catholic?
Catholics are members of the Church that Jesus originally established by His life, death, and resurrection more than 2,000 years ago. The Apostles are the original Bishops, with Peter as the head, our first Pope. We are the first Christians who have the teaching office, or Magisterium, continually guiding us through the Holy Spirit who will be with us until the end of time, as Jesus promised in Matthew 16:18. As members of fallen mankind, we can only hope in our salvation through the Sacraments that the Church provides to us and to all people. We always hope and pray for all Christians to unite in one faith, one hope, one baptism in Christ. We pray that anyone who reads this will want to investigate with an open heart the claims of the Church and will be moved to reach out to us at the parish so that we can share our faith with you. There are many ways to reach out; you can call us at the parish office at 360-734-2850, you can attend Mass, or come to any of the events we have going on. RCIA is the weekly class for adults who are interested in becoming Catholic, or who just want questions answered. Please feel welcome to join!
RCIA is How a Person Becomes Catholic
If your heart is leading you to seek a deeper relationship with God, or if you are simply curious about what Catholics believe, then the Rite of Christian Initation of Adults, or RCIA, is the place to start. It is the process by which the Church teaches the tenets of the faith and how to live the life of a Catholic.
Some frequently asked Questions:
What about my children, can they become Catholic too?
We have a companion process for children 7 years and older which is similar to the adult process, but directed to their age level. If they are younger, they may be baptized (if they are not already) and join in the regular religious education process.
What if I have received my baptism in another Christian church, is the RCIA process the same for me?
You would not be re-baptized as Catholic, rather you would make a Profession of Faith. Each person’s faith journey is valued and your particular journey may be different from the usual process. Some will seek out a personal interview with Father Joseph to understand the process better for their unique faith journey. This will help your understanding of the Catholic faith and determine the right path for you.
What if I have been married & divorced before, can I still become a Catholic?
If either your spouse or you are seeking to become Catholic, or have been away from the Faith, and have since been married more than once, there is a procedure that must be completed before receiving the Sacraments. It is important that you realize that this can take a considerable amount of time, but this does not prevent you from participating in the RCIA process. This will be explained in the interview.
How long does it take to become Catholic?
The RCIA process lasts for a year, however some may choose to take another year in their discernment process. The final decision of readiness is ultimately made by you in discernment with your sponsor, the RCIA team, and the priest.
What is the RCIA process like?
The goal of RCIA is to foster or deepen one’s relationship with Jesus Christ and the community of his disciples, the Church. There are four stages of a person’s journey in the RCIA. These stages are linked with liturgical celebrations which acknowledge the person’s continuing conversion and lead into the next period of Christian formation. Each of these is focused toward incorporating the person into the life of the Catholic Christian Community. The process will vary slightly for a person who has already been baptized.
1st Stage: The Inquiry Period
This stage is designed to be a period to ask questions, to get to know what Catholics believe and how they live out that belief in worship and in service. The focus is on awakening your faith by sharing and discussing the journey of faith. It is a time to learn to recognize how God is working in our lives through our daily experience. We will do all we can to help you come to a prayerfully informed decision about joining the Catholic Church. If you are ready to continue, you will be assigned a sponsor and celebrate your entrance into the Catechumenate at the Rite of Acceptance.
2nd Stage: The Catechumenate
During this stage you will go to Sunday Mass to hear the Word of God proclaimed. Then you will be dismissed as a group to explore the Sunday scriptures in light of your growing faith. On Tuesday evenings we will meet together to pray, study Catholic Tradition and doctrine, and share the life of faith. Those who are ready to be fully initiated at Easter will be presented to the Archbishop at the Rite of Election.
3rd Stage: Purification & Enlightenment
This is a stage which coincides with Lent, a season of penance and conversion leading to the celebration of the solemn annual celebration of Christ’s Passion and Resurrection at Easter. The Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting, works of charity, and personal sacrifice will prepare you to be Baptized, Confirmed, and receive Communion at the Easter Vigil.
4th Stage: Mystagogy
Mystagogy is a time to reflect on the mysteries, the marvelous things which happen through the sacraments. It also is a time for ongoing catechesis. This is a time of deepening your relationship with the Church. It is a time to be more fully incorporated into the life of the Church and live the mission which has been entrusted to you. This period never really ends but our weekly gatherings will conclude with Pentecost.