Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
RCIA is bringing the “Good News” alive in the modern world …
The letters “RCIA” stand for the “Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults”, the document flowing from Vatican II which guides the process by which adults are initiated into our Roman Catholic community. The RCIA describes a process in which men and women are guided and cared for as they awaken in faith and are gradually introduced to the Catholic way of life.
The RCIA process is a series of carefully planned stages, marked by liturgical rites in the presence of the whole community, in which new Catholics embark on and join us in a continuing and deepening conversion into faith and discipleship. The RCIA takes the distinctive history and spiritual needs of each person into account, differentiating between the baptized and the unbaptized, the catechized and the uncatechized. The needs of mature, practicing Christians from other faith traditions are considered on an individual basis.
The RCIA draws its model from the “catechumenate” of the ancient Church. Becoming Christian in the early days of the Church involved a sharp break with the surrounding culture. New Christians entered into the joy of new life and a life-sharing community of faith, but also entered into a way of living which demanded deep commitment and entailed great risks. In the modern world, our faith also demands deep commitment — our beliefs and the beliefs of our society are often in tension. The Church revived the catechumenate — embodied in the RCIA — because new believers in the modern world need careful preparation and caring support as they enter into the mysteries of Christ and the commitment of Christian living.
Conversion: a Journey of Mind, Heart and Spirit
Awakening to Christ and seeking out the Church through the RCIA comes about in a variety of ways. The first step for some is a sense that “something is missing” — a sense, perhaps provoked by some crisis, that there is more to life than what they now have or a better way to live than how they now live. For many others, the journey begins because of a relationship with a Catholic — a close friend or a potential spouse. Still others are drawn by seeing the example of a Catholic life well lived, or by exposure to a Catholic writer like St. Augustine, Thomas Merton or Dorothy Day. Whatever the reason for the awakening and decision to seek, the RCIA process is the first step on a lifelong journey of intellectual, emotional and spiritual conversion. Excerpt by Thomas Scharbach-Used with permission.
For more information about our RCIA process, contact Diane Swinarski at 603-425-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following is the experience of one of our parishioners:
By: Kirsten Marie Winmill-Lepore
It has almost been two years since I first started my journey with God. It all started while cruising through the Mediterranean with my family and boyfriend, Gio. While planning the trip we thought it would be nice to spend some extra time in Rome and visits the sites. We decided that Gio would be a great tour guide because he is originally from Italy. While there we visited many churches and other historical sites. Watching Gio react to these sites made me think…Is there something more? Am I missing something? What is he feeling? And so many other questions popped into my head. I wasn’t brought up within a specific religion, I knew there was a higher power of some sort, but nothing concrete. When we got back into the states I started looking around for education about religion. My research came up with a program called the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). I thought this might be a good program and that it could help me find some of the answers I was looking for. Now that I knew what I was looking for, I now needed a place to start my journey. However, Gio and I had just moved to Londonderry, so we were not very familiar with the local churches. Once again, I set off on an online search and stumbled upon St. Jude Parish’s website. Something captured my attention and I decided to schedule an appointment with Father Bob. Meeting Father Bob for the first time in church felt both very foreign and yet very comfortable. He was very friendly and had answers to all my questions and concerns about the RCIA process. Needless to say, I decided to go forward with the program. My journey was officially on the way…I joined the RCIA, started going to church every Sunday, and my boyfriend decided to become my sponsor through the process. While in the RCIA I learned a great deal, met very knowledgeable and friendly people, with which I built wonderful relationships with. I continued to be inquisitive all throughout the RCIA process, by researching, listening and actively participating in class discussions. In April of 2017 I was baptized, made my first communion and was confirmed at the Easter Vigil by Father Bob, the same person that had greeted me at the beginning of my journey was now officially bringing me into my new religion. I have continued to attend church regularly and I am now part of the RCIA team that guided me through my journey. In May of 2017 Gio proposed to me, our engagement culminated in us being married at St. Jude Parish, by Father Bob on April 13, 2018. Its crazy to think that a simple thought in a church while in Rome has taken me on a life long journey filled with spirituality, friends and love.