The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is the normal way in which adults and children over the age of seven become full, active, participating members of the Catholic Church. A very important part of preparation for this active participation is developing the desire and ability to reach out to others, inviting them to "come and see" (John 1:39) where the Lord is to be found, which is in the community of His disciples. The most important thing to keep in mind about R.C.I.A. is this: it is not merely a new way to prepare adults and children over seven for baptism; baptism is only one of the final steps. The goal of the process is full communion, which means "full, conscious and active participation" in the eucharist and in the whole life of the Catholic faith community.
Preparation for initiation is a preparation for full discipleship, including the mission to tell others about Christ and the Catholic Church. This is a very serious committment, requiring much time for discernment with the help of others who walk beside the applicant as Christian friends and teachers.
Many persons who want to join the Catholic Church have already been baptized in another Christian Church. They follow a form of these four steps specially adapted to take account of the fact that they are already baptized:
Step 1: Period of Inquiry
Step 2: Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens and Period of the Catechumenate
Step 3: Rite of Election and the Period of Enlightenment and Purification
Step 4: Initiation and Full Participation
At Sacred Heart Church, R.C.I.A. is coordinated by a team that meets with those interested in learning more about the Catholic faith in late September and then begin a series of informational meetings (Period of Inquiry) until the 1st Sunday of Advent when they celebrate the Rite of Acceptance and enter the Period of the Catechumenate. After that the team and those who decide to pursue membership in the Catholic Church are dismissed each week from the 9AM Sunday Mass after the homily to reflect further on the Word of God and its meaning in their lives. This continues until the First Sunday of Lent when they go to the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford with candidates from all the parishes of the Archdiocese of Hartford and are enrolled in the final period of preparation (Period of Enlightenment and Purification). At the Easter Vigil they are received into membership in the Church either through Baptism if they have not been baptized in another Christian denomination or by Profession of Faith in the Catholic tradition if they are already baptized. Between Easter and Pentecost they may meet to reflect more fully on the meaning of their initiation into the Catholic faith tradition (Period of Mystagogia).
If you know someone who might like to begin journeying with us in faith, invite them to contact:
Contact Information for this Ministry
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