How to Become Catholic: RCIA
Looking for a place to call home? The Roman Catholic Church has been practicing the same faith for over 2000 years! The soul has a deep desire to want stability in its life. Just like after a long day we find peace and tranquility when we come home at night, so to do we find peace and tranquility in the Catholic Church after searching for years for the truth. These teachings of truth were given to us by Jesus Christ through Scripture and Tradition. Come and explore these two Pillars of our Faith on Thursday nights from August to May, at 7:00pm to 9:00pm here at St. Maria Goretti.
What is RCIA?
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. Formation and spiritual conversion are the heart of RCIA. Simply having knowledge of Christ’s teachings is not enough. By God’s help you will be strengthened spiritually during your preparation and at the proper time will receive the sacraments fruitfully.
RCIA at St. Maria Goretti Church prepares those who have not been baptized, those who have been baptized in other Church traditions, or those who have been baptized Catholic, but have not been instructed in the Catholic faith, for full reception into the Catholic Church.
The process has a two-fold purpose; to learn how the Catholic Church combines Sacred Scripture, Church teachings, and Church traditions to form a rich environment that challenges each of us into a personal encounter with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Secondly, each person is prepared for the reception of the Sacraments of Christian initiation: Baptism (if needed), Confirmation, and Eucharist.
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow" (Heb 3:18)
Will I be pressured to join the Catholic Church?
True conversion must be from the heart. God allows us to respond to Him with a free will and therefore the RCIA process is structured to provide each person with a relaxed (no pressure) atmosphere in which deep faith of the Catholic Church can be explored and a response made. Spiritual growth cannot be forced on anyone and so, you will never be pressured into joining our community of believers. If at any time you choose not to pursue initiation, either because you feel the time is not right or because you feel the Catholic Church is not the community for you, the Church respects your decision.
When does RCIA meet?
RCIA typically meets in the St. Maira Goretti Center On Thursday evenings, and continues each Thursday until Pentecost. In addition, after the Rite of Welcome, we will gather as a group at the 9:00 Mass and be dismissed after the homily to begin weekly studies on Scripture and Church teachings. You are welcome to bring your spouse or friend with you to our gatherings.
Do I need a sponsor?
Yes. By the end of the Period of Inquiry, each participant chooses or is appointed a Catholic sponsor who will complete the remainder of the RCIA process with them. If you do not have a sponsor, we will appoint someone to you from among the St. Maria Goretti Catholic community.
What are the requirements for someone to be a sponsor?
Sponsors are practicing Catholics in good standing with the Church who journeys with someone through the RCIA process. Sponsors should enjoy sharing their faith experiences, attend sessions regularly with their inquirer, participate in various rites and stands witness at their reception into the Catholic Church.
If I choose to complete the RCIA process, when will I become Catholic?
The Rite of Christian Initiation is not a program. It is the church’s way of ministering to those who seek membership. For that reason some people will need more time than others to prepare for the lifetime commitment that comes with membership in the Catholic Church. The expected time for receiving the three sacraments of initiation for adults participating in this RCIA session is at the Easter Vigil. At that time, those who are ready will be received into full communion with the Catholic Church
RCIA is a four step process
- A time of community building.
- Introductions to many Catholic teachings.
-Ends with the Rite of Welcome where participants publicly proclaim their desire to join the Catholic Church and proceed into the next phase of RCIA (not a commitment).
-The un-baptized become known as Catechumens, while the baptized are known as Candidates.
- Focuses more deeply on Catholic teachings.
- Pursue an even deeper prayer life.
- Begin weekly study of sacred Scripture.
- Attend 9:00 AM Mass together as a group. Non-Catholics are dismissed after the homily to reflect on and discuss the Scripture readings of that day.
- The Bishop calls those sent forth by the parish to the Rite of Election. The former Catechumens are then called the Elect.
Purification and Enlightenment
- A time of reflection on our conversion experiences.
- Scrutinies - a three-week period during Lent that focuses on areas of spiritual improvement as well as recognition of areas that have been strengthened throughout the RCIA process.
- The RCIA process reaches its peak at the Easter Vigil, at which time, all those who are ready will be received into full communion with the Catholic Church. Those that require it will receive Baptism. All will receive the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.
- The newly baptized receive the name of Neophyte, one who is newly planted in the faith.
- A time of reflection on the journey just taken.
- Continued emphasis on Scripture, prayer, and service.
- Time to reflect on the journey ahead.
We are happy to have you among our faith community. Please know that simply attending Mass does not make you a parishioner. You must be registered to be considered a parishioner. This is true for any parish. If you are not a member and would like to become a member of St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church, please see one of the ushers for a registration form. The registration form may be placed in the collection basket or mailed to the parish office.