RCIA for adults
BECOMING A CATHOLIC / RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS
We are glad that you are here, and we want to answer some of your questions.
A SHORT HISTORY
By the late third and early fourth centuries the way in which one became a Christian was very much established. Important to the process was a time of preparation and discernment spread over a long period of time (about three years). The actual initiation, which was celebrated during the Easter Vigil, involved immersion in water, a generous anointing with oil, and a sharing in the Eucharistic banquet.
The sixth and seventh centuries brought the decline in the ritual as infant baptism became the norm, and this process died out and was separated into baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist.
The second Vatican Council restored this process and reintroduced the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults with its beautiful rituals. Baptism of adults again became the norm after which infant baptism was modeled.
WHAT IS RCIA?
The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults is a four step collaborative process of study, exploration, faith sharing, and formation with specific liturgical rites for seekers and inquirers. Seekers and inquirers are non-baptized adults who desire to be fully initiated into the Roman Catholic Church community and/or baptized adult Christians who desire full communion in the Roman Catholic Church. Additionally, the RCIA classes are offered to Catholics who wish to refresh their knowledge of what the Church is teaching today and for Catholic adults (over the age of 17) who would like to prepare for confirmation and/or
Eucharist. (Adults who only need to receive confirmation should review the adult confirmation information on our website.)
Adults or older children who have not been baptized and desire to join the Church are invited into the ancient celebration of the Rites of Christian Initiation of Adults. During this process, which is marked by regular ritual acts, participants are introduced to the liturgy, the teachings, and the life of the Catholic Church.
Adults or older children who were baptized in another Christian denomination prepare in a similar way for the sacraments of confirmation and the Eucharist during their reception into the Catholic Church.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A CATHOLIC?
The RCIA is not a program. At St. Mark the Evangelist, we believe that RCIA is a process of preparation for the lifetime commitment that comes with reception into the Church. Consequently, some people will need more time than others to prepare for this. The usual length of preparation for an unbaptized person is from one to two years. For the baptized, the time may vary depending on the individual's needs.
WHAT DOES RCIA INVOLVE?
RCIA begins in September, with classes continuing through to Pentecost (50 days after Easter). Sessions cover a broad range of topics because our Catholic beliefs encompass the whole fabric of our lives. Topics include Scripture, God, Son and Holy Spirit, Church history, heaven and hell, the papacy, Mary and the saints, the problem of evil, sin and reconciliation, conscience and moral decision making, baptism, confirmation, the Mass, anointing of the sick, marriage, ministry, justice, and many others.
WHEN ARE THE RCIA CLASSES OFFERED?
Classes are presented in both in English and Spanish and are conducted by a deacon and team members of our parish collaboratively with our sister parishes. The meetings vary by the type of candidates within each group. Usually the Spanish classes are held every other Sunday and every Sunday during Lent. The English classes are usually offered twice a month on Thursdays. Additionally, attendance at Mass on Sundays is strongly encouraged.
WHEN ARE THE SACRAMENTS RECEIVED?
The Rites of Christian Initiation of Adults are celebrated throughout the year as needed. Catechumens and candidates also participate in a Rite of Election each year, usually on the first Sunday of Lent at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, presided over by the archbishop. At the Easter vigil service, catechumens and candidates are either baptized or make a profession of faith, receive first Eucharist, and are confirmed. Adults who have not been confirmed also optionally receive the sacrament of confirmation at the Easter vigil service or on the Feast of Pentecost at the Cathedral.
Registration for the RCIA classes begins in August, with inquiries accepted at any time of year. For more information, or if you are interested in becoming a team member, contact Danny Rodriguez or contact our parish secretary, Juanita Rodriguez-Rocha at (262) 656-7373.
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