Becoming Catholic is a process that involves building your own personal relationship with Jesus, investing in the Church community, receiving knowledge of Christ and His Church, and going through several different ‘rites’ to become ‘fully initiated’.
For those who have already been baptized in another Christian denomination, at the end of your journey (really, just the beginning of a new journey!) you will receive your first Holy Communion and Confirmation.
If you have never been baptized, you will go through the same process, but you will also be received into the Church first through baptism.
Being Catholic, however, is a lifelong pursuit! RCIA is just the first step on this journey.
From the time of the apostles, becoming a Catholic Christian has been accomplished by a journey and initiation in several stages.
This journey can be covered rapidly or slowly, but certain essential elements will always have to be present: Proclamation of the Word, acceptance of the Gospel entailing conversion, profession of faith, Baptism itself, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and admission to Eucharistic communion.
When does R.C.I.A. Formation begin?
Please contact Sarah at the Parish Office to obtain the latest details on sessions and options.
Who is R.C.I.A. for?
- Adults never baptized who might desire to become Catholic
- Adults baptized in another Christian Church who might desire to become Catholic
What does the R.C.I.A. Formation consist of?
The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (R.C.I.A.) has five distinct phases of this process:
- Period of Inquiry – This initial period allows the “inquirer” to become acquainted with the Catholic Church, to hear the Good news of Jesus Christ and reflect on ones’ own life and the stirrings of the heart. This is a reflective period where individuals look at their own life story and begin to make connections with the gospel. This is a time for inquirers to explore questions they have about the Church. The length of time this takes will vary from person to person. Some may discern that they are not ready to move forward at this time, while others will determine that they want to move to the next stage.
- Period of Catechumenate – Following the “Rite of Acceptance and Welcoming” (first stage of commitment) the “catechumen” partakes within instruction that deepens individual conversion and provides for more in-depth focus on the doctrines of the Catholic faith.
- Period of Purification or Enlightenment – The Rite of Election (second stage of commitment) marks a period of more intense spiritual preparation intended to purify the heart and mind of the “elect” as they prepare to receive the Sacraments in the Church. It is a time to deepen their knowledge of and relationship to Christ. During Lent, special prayers called scrutinies are offered for the elect. Scrutinies are prayers for strengthening and purification from any past wrongdoing.
- Paschal Triduum and Sacraments of Initiation – Joining with the Church community in the celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ in the Paschal Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday/Easter Vigil) the “elect” are fully initiated into the Church through the reception of the Sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation (third stage of commitment).
Those who have already been Baptized (whether Catholic or in another Christian tradition) will receive their Sacraments at some point in the weeks during the Easter Season (6 week period).
- Period of Mystagogy – Newly initiated Catholics continue to deepen their understanding of their new faith. This is a time to reflect on the sacraments and the teachings of the Catholic Church as well as understanding our involvement in the Mission of the Church It is also a time to discern how best they can serve Christ through His church by becoming active in ministry.
If you are already baptized:If you were baptized in another Christian church, or if you were baptized Catholic, but have not been Confirmed nor received the Eucharist (or Confession), you will follow a process that will invite you into a deeper understanding of the Sacraments and Catholic way of life.
Candidates for reception into full communion with the Catholic Church will undertake a formation program to guide them in understanding the teachings and practice of the Catholic faith. This process may look similar to the one outlined above depending on your formation needs.
We are all at different stages in our faith journey, so this process may take longer for some than others. Candidates may be received into full communion by making a Profession of Faith and being Confirmed and receiving Eucharist. They may also be received into full communion at another time during the year, depending on the readiness of the individual, and the pastoral circumstances involved.
Contact our Adult Faith Formation Coordinators who will meet with you to determine the next steps for you. Since everyone’s situation is different, the individual circumstances and sacramental needs of each person will be assessed. This is what determines the process to be followed, and can affect the time frame involved.
A Sponsor to walk with you throughout your journey of faith
You will be asked to find a special person called a Sponsor. Jesus taught his disciples the importance of community. It is meaningful that we walk this faith journey with companions. A Sponsor is a practicing Catholic who will serve as a companion, listener, and mentor. Ideally, a Sponsor is someone with whom you can freely share questions and concerns and who will be present along the journey.
Your Sponsor will play an integral role and be present alongside of you throughout the formation process and will stand with you during important moments such as the Rites and at your Initiation into the Church. Please read more information below under “The Role of the Sponsor”.
The Role of the Sponsor:
The responsibility of the sponsor is to help you live the Catholic Christian lifestyle. Their goal is to be a guide, a mentor and encouragement on your journey of faith. A Sponsor is one who is an active and practicing Catholic, someone with whom you can share with comfortably.
If you are not aware of anyone who can act in this role, please be sure to let the Coordinator know your concerns.
Some suggested questions to consider when selecting a Sponsor:
- Does this person live the Catholic faith in an exemplary way?
- Are they comfortable sharing their faith with me?
- Am I comfortable sharing with them?
- Is there founded hope that they will encourage me to walk the journey of faith through the years?
- Will they have interest in walking with me during the months of formation, study and learning in the Catholic Faith?\
- Is this a person who has the ability to stand up with me (literally) during various moments of this formation journey?
Qualifications of a Sponsor (Diocese Guidelines)
- Understand the qualifications and intention of being a sponsor.
- Attained the age of 16
- Is fully initiated Catholic– Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist (Parish will need a copy of Sponsor’s Confirmation Certificate)
- Has no canonical impediments such as
- divorced and remarried without an annulment
- Catholics married outside of the Church.
- Is not the father or mother of Confirmation Candidate.
- Leads a life in harmony with the faith and the role to be undertaken.
Please be mindful of the following paperwork considerations for a Sponsor:
- Sponsor Paperwork
- Please provide copy of Sponsor(s) Confirmation Certificate
- Review “Qualifications of Sponsor” guidelines
Why Do Catholics choose a Saint for Confirmation?
It is important to remember that as members of the Church, we are never been alone, as St. Paul said, ‘We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses’ (Hebrews 12:1). These witnesses are the saints who continually intercede for us (CCC 956); in choosing a confirmation saint, we are choosing a special friend to intercede for us in heaven and after whom we can model our lives while here on earth.
Here are some websites that might help
Patron Saint listing
Who do I contact?
Please call Sarah Nelson at 719-542-9248 x121 or email at email@example.com
We want to know more about you!
For questionnaire to complete and print click here.