Becoming Catholic?Interested in knowing more about what Catholics believe? In the midst of many Christian faiths, what makes the Catholic faith different? Through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults Process (RCIA), we have the opportunity to share the Catholic Faith with non-Catholic neighbors, friends, and parishioners who would like to know more about their faith. Anyone and everyone are welcome to RCIA. If you are:
Catholic and interested in learning more about the Catholic Faith
Considering the possibility of becoming a Catholic
The RCIA process might be exactly what you are looking for. By participating in this process, it does not mean you have made a commitment to become a Catholic, only to learn more about the Catholic Faith. It is only when you are ready, that a commitment is made. Each year, adults seeking to join the Roman Catholic Church receive weekly support, encouragement and assistance from the RCIA team and from parish companions, Sunday catechists, and guest speakers.
RCIA is a process, which culminates with:
Baptism/Profession of Faith
First Eucharist at the Easter Vigil
and continues with the neophyte year of those newly initiated into our faith community and church.
Thursday Evening gatherings begin in September and end in May. For more information, contact Patrice Morace at 202-362-3323 ext 13 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RCIA Stages The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults is a faith journey which consists of four distinct stages:
Stage 1: Inquiry (Pre-Catechumenate)
Stage 2: Catechumenate
Stage 3: Purification and Enlightenment
Stage 4: Mystagogia
Stage 1: Inquiry (Pre-Catechumenate) This is the time when someone who feels drawn to the expression of Christian values begins to formally ask questions of the faith community: What do Catholics believe? Why? Who is God? How is God active in my life? What are the sacraments?
This period may last only a few months or a number of years. Sometimes inquirers realize that they are not ready or willing to belong to the Christian community. They leave with the blessing of their companions and catechists as they continue to search for spiritual meaning. Others find that they are attracted to our way of life and are drawn to the person of Christ. Like the disciples of old, they wish to follow Jesus and move to the next stage of the journey, which is known as the Catechumenate.
Inquiry Schedule Ongoing inquiry sessions for those thinking about joining the Catholic Church are offered by our parish community. Please call. These are informal sessions that provide opportunities for the inquirer to ask her/his questions about the Catholic faith. A team of staff and volunteers from the parish community, along with other inquirers, are ready and willing to explore these questions with you. Drop-ins are always welcome.
Stage 2: Catechumenate This stage begins with the Rite of Acceptance. Those who enter this stage are claimed for Christ and marked with the sign of the cross. They are then called catechumens if they are unbaptized, or candidates if they have already been baptized in another tradition. This period of the RCIA is a time for the catechumens and candidates to deepen in faith and commitment to Christ. Although they are not yet able to share at the table of the Eucharist, they participate in the Liturgy of the Word each Sunday. When they are dismissed, they take the book of the Gospels with them to a separate meeting place where they continue to reflect with their catechists and each other upon the gospel message and how it pertains to their lives.
This stage of the RCIA usually lasts a year or more. It includes formal sessions on Catholic teaching and practice and is an opportunity for the individual to grow in prayer and to mature in faith. With the support of community members, parish companions, godparents and catechists, the catechumens and candidates steadily conform their lives to Gospel values. They continue to deepen their relationship with Christ, and when they, with the guidance of their catechists, discern that they are ready, enter into the next stage of the catechumenate, Purification and Enlightenment.
Stage 3: Purification and Enlightenment This stage begins on the first Sunday of Lent with the Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion. In local parishes throughout our diocese, catechumens inscribe their name in a book which is presented to the Bishop in a ceremony at the Basilica ( The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, located at 400 Michigan Avenue, North East in Washington, D.C.), later that day.
At the Rite of Election, the Bishop elects (chooses) the catechumens in the name of Christ to receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist at Easter. The Bishop also calls (exhorts) the candidates to continue growing in their faith as they prepare for Confirmation and Eucharist. The next 40 days are intensive days of preparation to receive the sacraments at Easter. The local community accompanies the Elect (unbaptized) and Candidates (already baptized) by participating in the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Special rites of interior searching, known as the scrutinies, are celebrated with the elect and candidates. These take place on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sundays of Lent.
This period of the RCIA culminates at the Easter Vigil with baptism for those who are unbaptized, a profession of faith for those who are baptized, confirmation, and the reception of Eucharist. This completes the third stage of the journey.
Stage 4: Mystagogia This final phase of the RCIA finds the Neophytes rejoicing in their awareness of God’s presence in them and around them. Now, instead of leaving after the homily, they remain with the community to pray and eat at the banquet of the Eucharist as fully initiated members of our faith community.
The neophytes continue to meet weekly during the Easter season, then once every 6 weeks through the next two years. They share prayer and community with one another as they become more integrated into the faith community of the parish and the larger Church. They take time together to discover their gifts and talents, their continuing call to grow in the love of God and participation in building the reign of God.
Is RCIA Right For Me? The RCIA process is designed for adults who are unbaptized or those who were baptized as infants but had little experience with regular church attendance. Individuals baptized in another Christian tradition who have little experience with the Roman Catholic tradition often find this process to be helpful in their discernment of becoming Roman Catholic.
More Information About RCIA The best way to find out more about the RCIA process is simply begin.
Inquiry sessions for adults: 3 Thursday evening sessions 7:00pm to 8:30pm In the Parish Office Conference Room
Inquiry will meet on Thursday evenings for 3 weeks, followed by a retreat and opportunity to participate in the Rite of Acceptance for those discerning God’s call to take a next step in the RCIA process. Inquiry Sessions are informal sessions that provide opportunities for the inquirer to ask her/his questions about the Catholic faith. A team of staff and volunteers from the parish community, along with other inquirers, are ready and willing to explore these questions with you. Drop-ins are always welcome. For those who so desire, the Director of the RCIA is available to answer questions by telephone and will schedule individual appointments. For more information please contact Patrice Morace at: 202-362-3323 ext. 13 or email@example.com.
Parish Community Support As a community, we journey with the adults who are seeking to join the Roman Catholic Church. During Mass, we pray with the candidates and catechumens and witness the rites that lead up to and include: Baptism, First Eucharist and Confirmation. Together with them, we renew our baptismal promises.
Parish Companion Ministry Looking for a Way to Live Your Faith? Patrice Morace and the RCIA team are asking you to consider walking with one person as a companion. The time commitment will average an hour a week, which can occur on Tuesday nights, or during the weekend Mass, which you and the person discerning a call to be a Catholic attend.
Companions do not have to be either catechists or saints– just regular folks willing to be present to another on a consistent basis over a period of time. This is a wonderful way to learn more about your faith, to get to know another person in the parish, to grow in your ability to talk a little about how you experience God in your everyday life.
In November, our parish will be welcoming people inquiring into our faith into the catechumenate, and this is where companioning begins and continues to their reception into full membership in our church.
If you are interested in discerning this very important ministry and offering your support to those God is calling, please contact Patrice Morace at: 202-362-3323 ext. 13 or firstname.lastname@example.org.