Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults

newly-initiated
The newly-initiated "neophytes" are left to right, front row: Giselle Martinez, Steve Wise, (Fr. Cook,) Paul Jefferson III, Nathalie Torres.  Left to right in back row:  Giovanni Lopez, Paul Jefferson IV, Tamia Jefferson, Elisandro Torres.

reception 4-11-10
Two candidates who received the Rite of Full Reception on April 11, 2010.
 Michelle Greer and Karl Hill flanking Fr. Fiore.

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the process whereby non-Catholics or Catholics not yet fully initiated are able to learn more about the Catholic Church and possibly join the Catholic Community of Faith.
RCIA:
  • Is a unique process, discernment and spiritual growth by which one hears the good news of salvation and draws nearer in Christ.
  • Welcomes people of other faiths to explore the Catholic faith and grow with us in the knowledge of God.
  • Stresses conversion of mind, heart and soul through a special period of preparation, accompanied by celebration of liturgical rites.
  • Is based on the process of making disciples in the early Church.
  • Involves and celebrates the mystery of Christ present in the whole parish community.

The Christian initiation of adults is celebrated by the entire Church, and is one of the principal ways in which the Church continually renews itself. Through the RCIA, Catholics are given the opportunity to reflect on their own Baptismal commitment by giving witness to their faith in Christ, who is the head of the Church. Encountering Jesus is the goal of RCIA.

Christian Initiation is a process of conversion to Christ and the love of God proclaimed in the Gospel. This conversion process takes time and cannot be rushed. At Easter, the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist are administered and celebrated after a period of careful preparation for those who have never been baptized.

While the Saint John - Holy Angels Parish is a large faith community of 3000 families, the RCIA team members serve to make each individual feel welcome and to answer questions that might arise. A sponsor is available to provide support for each catechumen or candidate.

Although the RCIA involves thorough education in Catholic doctrine, more importantly it seeks to nurture and direct the spiritual life of individuals. It is a process of formation and growth, which shapes the faith of individuals in their hearts and minds. This process takes place by hearing the Word of God and responding to > it, by sharing in the life of the faith community, and discovering Christ alive in our midst. Instruction in the faith seeks to expose candidates to the truth of the Scriptures and the rich traditions of the Catholic faith. Thus, individuals are "transformed in Christ through the renewing of their minds" (Rom. 12:2).

Catechumens and candidates sharing in this process are given the opportunity to discuss questions and express any of their own personal doubts, hopes and aspirations. Each is assigned a sponsor with whom he or she feels comfortable, who helps answer questions and accompanies the catechumen or candidate on this journey.

The process of Christian Initiation is divided into stages and each stage is marked by the celebration of liturgical rites in the parish. At Easter, these rites culminate in the sacraments of initiation, through which we are freed from the power of darkness and joined to Christ's death and resurrection. Baptism incorporates us into Christ and makes us a "new creation by water and the Spirit" (Baptismal Rite). Confirmation makes us more complete in the image of the Lord and fills us with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, so that we may bear witness to Christ before the whole world, using our gifts to build up his body in love. Finally, joined to Jesus at the table of the Eucharist, we eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God, so that we may have eternal life (John 6:55). In this way, we are each incorporated into the one body of Christ, the Church, and grow in the fullness of God's life and love.

For those who enter into the RCIA process as baptized Christians of other faith traditions, baptism is not repeated but is replaced with the Rite of Reception into the Catholic Church. There is also an RCIA for children of catechetical age (7 years and older). This process is modeled on the process for adults and is for children who have never been baptized or have been baptized in another Christian tradition.
The RCIA means welcome... WELCOME EVERYONE! Jesus welcomes all to share His life at St. John - Holy Angels Parish.


 

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