Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults

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1 Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults An Introduction St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church Wildwood, Florida

2 What is R.C.I.A.? The R.C.I.A. (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) is a process whereby those interested in the Catholic faith come together weekly to learn about the Scriptures and the teachings of the Catholic Church, and at the same time, to discover the presence of God in their lives. R.C.I.A. is designed for adults and for children over the age of seven who are: Unbaptized Baptized in another tradition Baptized Catholic, but with no further religious training or sacraments

3 The RCIA Process? Gateways and sources of grace for conversion The period of preparation is made holy by means of liturgical celebrations. - RCIA, 405 Catechumenate Purification & Enlightenment Mystagogy Rite of Initiation Scrutinies Precatechumenate Penitential Rite Rite of Election Rite of Acceptance Rite of Sending

4 Period of Inquiry (Pre-Catechumenate) The Period of Inquiry or Pre-Catechumenate is a time for: Asking questions about the Catholic faith Building community within the group Developing a trusting atmosphere More importantly, it is a time for: Examining God's presence in our lives, past and present Learning about prayer Fostering conversion Developing or improving our relationship with God Getting to know his Church

5 Period of Inquiry (Pre-Catechumenate) During this phase of RCIA the candidates and catechumens will discuss such topics as: What brought you to RCIA? Prayer and liturgy What is your image of God? Who is Jesus? Who is the Holy Spirit? Who is the Trinity? The Saints The conclusion of this phase leads to the Rite of Acceptance

6 The Rite of Acceptance The Rite of Acceptance is the first rite of the RCIA process, and takes place during a Sunday Mass. Those desiring to continue on to the second phase of the RCIA (the Catechumenate or Study Period) make a public commitment to accept the way of the cross. The worshipping community, our parish family, publicly welcomes them and promises to support to them in their ongoing journey of faith. The candidates (the baptized) and catechumens (the unbaptized) are signed with the Sign of the Cross to remind them of their commitment; they also receive the Word of God, to remind them that the Scriptures are the source of our faith. Candidates and catechumens now move on to the Catechumenate (Study) Period

7 The Catechumenate (Study) Period The Period of Study (Catechumenate) is a time for: "Breaking open the Word" - reading and discussing the Sunday Gospel Continuing to build community within the group Getting more involved in parish activities; getting to know the parish community Learning about the basic teachings and beliefs of the Catholic Church More importantly, it is a time for: Continuing to examine God's presence in our lives, past and present Developing prayer life; entering into the communal worship of the parish Fostering conversion Developing or improving our relationship with God The conclusion of this phase leads to the Rite of Sending and the Rite of Election

8 The Rite of Sending The Rite of Sending is often celebrated in a parish the week before the Rite of Election. It is a sending-forth rite, and symbolises the parish sending the candidates to the Cathedral the following week with love, prayers and support.

9 Rite of Election The Rite of Election is usually celebrated by the bishop at the cathedral or another large church. It is celebrated on the same day in many of the dioceses around the world. Those wishing to be baptized or received into full communion with the Catholic Church come together. Their names are publicly declared to all present, signifying their intention to be initiated at the Easter Vigil. The Bishop joyfully welcomes those to be baptized as children of God, as well as those who have already been baptized but seek full communion with the Catholic Church. Candidates and catechumens now move on to the Period of Purification and Enlightenment

10 The Period of Purification and Enlightenment The Period of Purification and Enlightenment is a time for: Repentance Examining areas of sinfulness and weakness in our lives Asking for God's help in healing these areas Prayer, fasting and almsgiving Preparation for receiving the sacraments of initiation Often the Sunday Gospel for the week is discussed and its meaning placed in the context of our lives. At this stage the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church are explored. The conclusion of this phase leads to the Penitential Rite and Scrutinies

11 The Penitential Rite and Scrutinies For those seeking initiation into the Catholic Church, the Penitential Rite and the three Scrutinies are designed to help overcome their areas of weakness, and to strengthen their areas of goodness. The parish family joins with them in prayer, asking God to purify them and ready them to receive the Sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil. The Scrutinies are designed for the unbaptized, and take place at three separate Masses in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sundays in Lent. Those who are already baptized participate in the Penitential Rite during a Mass on the 2nd Sunday in Lent. They are also strongly encouraged to undertake the Sacrament of Reconciliation as part of their preparation towards the Rite of Initiation. This marks the movement from sin to grace, from old life to new life.

12 The Rite of Initiation On the night of the Easter Vigil on the night we celebrate new life through death we celebrate the sacraments of Baptism (for the Catechumens), Confirmation and Eucharist. In ceremonies that can be traced back to the 2 nd century, the whole parish community renews it's own baptismal commitment as it welcomes new members into its midst. It is the high point, but not the end, of the journey of conversion. Our new full members of the Church community now move onto the Period of Mystagogy

13 The Period of Mystagogy The period of Mystagogy is a time for: Living a sacramental life Living out the gospel way of life Becoming more involved in the parish Topics often discussed during this phase include: Evangelization Stewardship Lay Ministry The Sunday Gospel for the eight weeks of the Easter season, including Pentecost, are discussed and what they mean in the context of our lives.

14 Conclusion The end of the period of Mystagogy marks the end of the formal instruction for new members of the Church community. The foundations have been laid, and the tools provided. Now begins the lifelong building phase

15 Acknowledgements Thanks to Vickie Shepherd of the ecatholic2000.com website from which I borrowed heavily when making this presentation. Deacon Dana

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