RCIA stands for: Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
RCIA is an adult Catholic process for education and spiritual preparation prior to entry into the Roman Catholic Church and community. This process includes the two initiation sacraments through the rites of Baptism (for those not already baptized Christian) and Confirmation. RCIA at Holy Family Parish is led by a team who will help guide program participants through the faith journey. In addition, participants have individual sponsors to pray with and discuss topics throughout the process.
This is a time of no fixed duration for those seeking an introduction to the Catholic Faith and Gospel values. It is a time to ask questions about God, Christ, the Church, its structure and teachings.
Participants attend a number of classes and retreats to learn the fundamentals of the Roman Catholic Church (see Calendar for list of topics), to develop a prayer life and foster conversion.
Purification and Enlightenment
This is the time immediately preceding initiation, coinciding usually with the season of Lent. It is a time of reflection, marked by celebration of certain rites helping to prepare for the sacraments of initiation.
Celebration of the Sacraments
For those who are not baptized, this is the rite, normally celebrated at the Easter Vigil, whereby a person is initiated through receiving the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist.
This is the time, usually the Easter season, during which the newly initiated experience being fully a part of the Christian community through participation in the Sunday Eucharist, and through reflection on the experience of receiving the sacraments.
RCIA is structured around adult learning and conversion practices, which are quite different from what you experienced in school. The year focus on:
What am I expected to do?
- Your individual steps of conversion and commitment
- Building community with other individuals, RCIA, and the Holy Family Parish
- Conveying knowledge about the teachings of the Church
- Small-group and large-group discussions to examine the personal implications of this knowledge
- Prayer and meditation in a number of forms
RCIA is an intense process, and you can expect to put a significant amount of work into making it a conversion experience which will be one of the highlights of your entire life. The calendar generally runs from around September through a few weeks after Easter. Each year's schedule depends on the specific date of Easter and working around other holidays.
On a weekly basis, participants should expect to:
In addition, you will be asked to:
- Attend Mass
- From Advent through Easter, attend Dismissal during weekend Mass (date and time varies)
- Read the pre-work, do homework exercises, and come prepared to class
- Attend weekly RCIA meetings (Sunday 10:30 a.m. at the Rectory)
What if I'm already baptized, confirmed, or a practicing Catholic?
- Participate in the Rite of Acceptance (about first Sunday in Advent)
- Participate in the Rite of Election (first Sunday in Lent)
- Define and do a personal project of giving to the community
- Interact with a designated sponsor and prayer partner
People come to RCIA with a wide variety of backgrounds, including:
- Agnostics, Atheists, Christians, non-Christians, active or "fallen away" Catholics
- Having received various sacraments from Catholic or other Christian churches
- Married, divorced, single
- Ages 16-80 and beyond
The process is essentially the same for all participants - all resources are made available to everyone. The rites of Baptism, Confirmation and even marriage blessings will be customized to the individual's situation as appropriate.
If you have been married outside the Catholic Church and/or divorced, it would be good to discuss any special needs with the Priest, Deacon or any of the team. If you've been baptized, you will be asked for a copy of the certificate for the church's records.
What if I'm not ready to make a commitment to the Church yet?
We don't expect that you can make a firm decision at the beginning of the year, whether you will be able to make a commitment of this magnitude. This is a deep, life-changing decision.
Instead, we invite you to come, participate, and learn. We will offer several times of discernment where you can focus on your personal stage of conversion, and if this isn't the right time for you, we totally respect your decision. All that we ask is that you be open and participate. If the time is right, it will become apparent to you.
It is not uncommon for people to go through RCIA more than once, or to switch parishes (especially due to moves), or to drop out of the program and then return later. We ask that if you wish to go through RCIA that you start at the beginning, as classes are structured to build on each other in a logical fashion.
If you are interested, you can call the church office at 806-945-2616 for more information. Or you can contact any of the RCIA team: Joel Gerber 647-7583 or Bev Schulte 647-8217