What is Christian Initiation?
Christian Initiation, often called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.), is the Catholic Church's formal process through which an non-Catholic adult (baptized or un-baptized) becomes a fully-initiated member of the Church. It is called a 'Rite' because the process is not only catechetical - that is, learning about Catholic doctrine through the Catechism of the Catholic Church - but is also liturgical. There are various liturgies that a person attends before receiving the sacraments of initiation at Easter. These liturgies focus on welcoming those going through R.C.I.A., enrolling the names of those preparing for the sacraments, guiding R.C.I.A. participants in purification, and finally, receiving the sacraments.
Those who are non-baptized are called 'catechumens', for they are being instructed in preparation for baptism. Those who are already baptized are called 'candidates', for they have put their names forward requesting the sacrament of confirmation.
R.C.I.A. itself involves many different facets. First, the process begins with learning divine revelation, which is the revealed Word of God. The heart of revelation is Jesus Christ, who is the Word made flesh. Jesus, who is the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, became man so that by his suffering, death, and resurrection, fallen humanity would be saved from sin. The incarnation is therefore the central point from which all of scripture should be read. At St. Aloysius, R.C.I.A. will therefore begin with an engaging, informative bible study that will cover the entirety of salvation history: Creation, the Fall, the Patriarchal Period, Egypt and the Exodus, the Conquest of Canaan, the Kingdom Periods, the Exile, the Return, the Maccabean Revolt, the Incarnation of Christ, the Life of Christ, the Passion and Resurrection of Christ, and the Founding of the Church. It is the hope that through this bible study, R.C.I.A. participants experience a conversion to Christ through the hearing of his Gospel, which at its heart preaches the salvation that Christ won for all.
After the bible study, R.C.I.A. will then turn to the study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is the official 'summary' of all Church teaching regarding faith and morality. As Catholics, we believe that God revealed to the Church all that is necessary for salvation. Divine revelation was transmitted in the written word, which we call sacred scripture or the Bible, and in the spoken word of Christ to his Apostles, which we call sacred tradition. Since Christ is the Word made flesh and the founder of the Catholic Church, we believe that it is necessary to study divine revelation (sacred scripture and sacred tradition) through the mind and authority of the Church. The Catechism has four 'pillars' that guides the reader in studying revelation: 1. the Creed (to believe) 2. the Sacraments (to worship) 3. Life in Christ (human dignity/Ten Commandments) 4. Prayer (friendship with God).
Throughout every session of R.C.I.A., there will also be time for prayer, learning the history and culture of Catholicism, sharing one's faith with others, and enjoying hospitality and friendship.
Who Attends R.C.I.A.?
R.C.I.A. is for any person who requires one or all of the sacraments of initiation, which are baptism, confirmation, and first holy communion. Whether you are Catholic or non-Catholic, believe in Christianity or have no religion, you are most welcome to attend R.C.I.A. Since the acceptance of faith is a matter of one's own conscience and heart, R.C.I.A. can be adapted, shortened, or lengthened depending on one's need.
When is R.C.I.A.?
R.C.I.A. will begin this September on Thursdays in the Parish Center at 7 pm. Catechumens will celebrate the sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil, which is the traditional time for the celebration of catechumens receiving baptism. Candidates, who are those already baptized, will receive confirmation and first holy communion at the 5 pm Vigil Mass for Pentecost Sunday.
The calendar for the 2015-2016 year will be updated this summer. This calendar will be updated frequently due to cancellations, weather, and the schedules of presenters.
If you are just discovering R.C.I.A. late in the process, please do not hesitate to contact the parish for more information. Depending on individual circumstances, it may still be possible to receive the sacraments even if you have missed significant portions of the R.C.I.A. process.
What is needed?
1) Information Form (please print, fill out, and bring to interview with the Dir. of Faith Formation)
2) Baptismal Certificate from your church of baptism (whether Catholic or non-Catholic)
3) Marriage Certificate from your place of marriage
4) A Catholic Bible (New American Bible, Revised Standard Version Second Catholic Edition, Douay-Rheims, Vulgate) *A Catholic Bible will be provided if needed.
5) A notebook and writing utensil for notes.
Thank you and God bless you.
St. Aloysius Parish Office