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 dswinarski@stjudenh.com.

Following is the experience of one of our parishioners:

My Journey

By: Luise Hoeppner

My name is Luise, 24 years old, I am from Germany and currently working here in Londonderry as a nanny, so in just a few weeks I will have received my sacraments and be baptized, it’s very odd thinking about this, I don’t know if I am excited or nervous or both. Just three years ago I would have laughed at anyone saying I would enter Christianity, much less the Catholic Church. My whole family are agnostic and atheists, my family is somewhat unsupportive of my conversion so I often times felt very alone in my journey, I think the last person to get baptized was one of my great-grandmothers.

I lost my mother when I was young and my dad has a strained relationship with me. For a very long time I resented God, I thought if God exists why did he make me go through so much? I didn’t realize that God was always by my side and that all of those experiences made me stronger and lead to me where I am now in life. For the first few years after converting I went to protestant churches, yet I never felt like it was the right fit for me, then I went to my first mass it all seemed so solemn and right for me. After my first visit to St Jude for the RCIA process I almost burst out in tears of happiness, I even told all my friends how I found my new home there. Trish and Mary were so warm and welcoming at our first meeting. Due to Covid we had to do a lot of our sessions online but everyone is so comforting and welcomed me with open arms. Father Bob is a great priest, and I learn so much, especially now that I can go to church again. I feel like I have grown closer to God in such a short time. I am so incredibly happy to become part of this church family, truly I feel like I have been blessed to be able to start my journey as a catholic at St Jude Church.