The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults [RCIA]:
In the not-too-distant past, most adults who wanted to become Roman Catholics attended a few weeks of convert instruction and were baptized in a private ceremony by the parish priest. It was a process that essentially involved only a priest and the inquirer. One of the fruits of the Second Vatican Council [1963-1965] was the renewed process of forming and initiating adults called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). In the words of an author named Thomas H. Morris, “Men and women involved in the RCIA today are formed at the hands of the local community around the Word of God, discerning and welcoming God’s invitation to embrace life in the Catholic Christian community, and thus serving the mission of Jesus in the world today.”
The RCIA seeks to adapt for modern times the process the Church used in initiating members during the fourth century. Early Christians realized that initiation is a process that moves through certain stages and that necessarily involves the entire Catholic community. At St. Paul’s, inquirers meet weekly with a team of lay people and clergy who teach the faith, share their own experience of Christ in their lives, and accompany inquirers on their journey of faith. On Sundays they reflect on Sacred Scripture and Holy Tradition which opens them more fully to the powerful Word of God.
RCIA is open to anyone, Christian or non-Christian, who genuinely seeks to explore the possibility of joining the Catholic Church. Catholic adults who have not made their First Holy Communion or Confirmation are most welcome.
Naturally, RCIA includes a substantial amount of instruction in the teachings of the Church. But first and foremost, RCIA is a process of conversion; it is about allowing God’s Holy Spirit to transform one’s heart. Along the way, inquirers participate in a number of ceremonies in which the Catholic community gradually encourages them onto full membership. These ceremonies include the Rite of Acceptance/Welcoming, the Rite of Election, and the three Scrutinies. Initiation culminates at the Easter Vigil through the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.
If you are interested in becoming either a candidate or a team member of the RCIA program, please leave a message for Deacon Czerwinski at the Parish Office.