The journey to discover Catholicism will begin for individuals in our RCIA class. An introduction to Catholicism, however, is really an introduction to a person, the person of Jesus Christ. As such, learning about Catholicism, about Jesus Christ, is less like a linear academic pursuit and more like the blossoming of a relationship. Just as you would come to know a friend or a spouse, persons come to know Christ and his Church. As the RCIA class goes deeper into discovering the Catholic faith, many foundational concepts will unfold further and help them come to know Jesus Christ, the person, more and more. Please keep the individuals who will journey with our RCIA class in your prayers and may we all draw deeper into the love of Christ.

Denise Gorski, RCIA Coordinator

dgorski@stcyprian.com

 

What is the RCIA?

The Holy Spirit draws all people toward Jesus Christ and his Church. Whether you already have a relationship with Christ and you are seeking his fullness or you really do not come from a religious background, the Church welcomes all people. The method by which people are welcomed is called RCIA, which stands for the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. It is a time to ask questions. It is a rite or ritual  that welcomes all persons who wish to know more about Jesus Christ and His Church. Modeled after how the Early Christians brought people into the faith, RCIA offers those discerning the Catholic faith a season of consecutive courses and liturgies that slowly draw the person into a fuller and deeper understanding of the mysteries of the Christian life.
 
The rite of Christian Initiation is designed for adults who, after hearing the mystery of Christ proclaimed, consciously and freely seek the living God and enter the way of faith and conversion as the Holy Spirit opens their hearts. By God’s help they will be strengthened spiritually during their preparation and at the proper time receive the sacraments fruitfully. (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Pg.2)
 

This is the official process in which one is baptized (Candidate), professes faith to the Catholic Church (Candidate), or for a baptized Catholic to complete their initiation process with the Sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation. The full RCIA journey consists of four periods of awaking, growth and formation called Inquiry or Pre-catechumenate, Catechumenate, Purification and Enlightenment, and finally Mystagogia.

There are also three major rites that involve the entire parish community of St. Cyprian’s: The Rite of Acceptance, the Rite of Sending and Election, and the Sacraments of Initiation. This process varies in duration. For Catechumens and some Candidates, this process can be two years. For Candidates and baptized Catholics seeking to complete their initiation, this process maybe one year. The difference in the duration of study depends on a person’s individual faith journey and knowledge in the beliefs and teaching of the Church. The readiness of each person will be determined by the individual with the help of our Pastor and RCIA Coordinator.

 

Why Does The RCIA Take So Long?

RCIA cannot be reduced to the mere transference of knowledge. The courses are not academic in the sense that they represent a series of topics that must be studied in order to graduate into Catholicism. RCIA must be primarily a formative process rather than simply an informative one. The stress on formation over information is due the fact RCIA is introducing you to Jesus Christ. Truth cannot be reduced to a concept but is rather a person —the person of Jesus Christ; and, just as it takes time for an individual to be formed in a relationship with a friend or spouse, it takes time to understand the person of Jesus Christ. Moreover, you cannot love that which you do not know. We must come to know Christ, in order to love him. As such, we must allow ourselves to be formed by the teachings of Christ, the knowledge of Christ, in order that our hearts may be able to make a true commitment to Jesus Christ.

 

If you have been thinking about entering into or in full communion with the Catholic Church, or have any questions regarding the RCIA, please feel free to contact Denise Gorski, RCIA Coordinator at 734-283-1366 x112 or email: dgorski@stcyprian.com.