“In the sacraments of Christian initiation
we are freed from the power of darkness
and joined to Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
We receive the Spirit of filial adoption
and are part of the entire people of God… ”
General Introduction to Christian Initiation, no. 1
What is RCIA?
Are you interested in knowing more about the Catholic way of life? Follow your heart and join us on the journey of Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Just because you start RCIA, doesn't mean you are committed to finished. If you are merely curious about what Catholicism is, please feel free to come. All are welcome.
The journey involves learning about the teachings and traditions of the Church as well as sharing in its rituals which outwardly express the community’s blessing, joy and support.
Those who have never been baptized as Christians
Those who have been baptized in another Christian faith who are now interested in the Catholic tradition.
Those who have been baptized in the Catholic tradition but have not received the sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation (fully initiated into the Catholic faith).
How To Get Started
Our program, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), to assist the faith journey of persons wishing to become Catholic Christians is now interviewing participants. If you would like to enter the RCIA process, please contact any parishioner for more information and/or let Sr. Joyce Schreiber, SND (330-274-2253) know so that a meeting can be arranged soon. Maybe you are already Catholic but know someone who may be open to an invitation at this time. We encourage you to speak to that person with a gentle and joyful inquiry. As Pope Francis reminded, “We do not proselytize.” We offer the message of the Gospel. We invite. Click here to learn more about Our Catholic Faith.
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is the solemn and sacred process by which adults seeking answers in their spiritual lives are brought in to full harmony with our parish community and the wider Catholic Church. Candidates participate in educational, spiritual, and social activities, meeting regularly, and discussing various aspects of their faith journey and of Church doctrine, liturgy, and practices. The journey culminates in the Sacred Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist) at the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday.
Have you been worshiping with us, but never officially took the step to become Catholic?
Have you been away from the church…and have now returned, but want to know more?
Have you been Catholic all your life, but never celebrated all of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist)?
Have you joined us from a different background and would now like to find out more about the Catholic Church?
Have you thought God is leading you in this direction and want to find out?
Are you the friend, spouse, relative, or dialogue partner of a faith inquirer?
If any of the above questions apply to you, we would love to help you in your journey! Or, if you know of anyone who could answer YES to any of the above questions, perhaps you might consider extending an invitation to them! Also, please consider sharing the leaflet on RCIA with anyone you think may have questions. Look for more information in the bulletin each week.
To become a participant, to have questions answered, or
to schedule a polite conversation, please contact Sr. Joyce (330-274-2253).
RCIA inquiry is both for those who are sure and those who wish to inquire about the Catholic Faith. The time of inquiry is respected as each person's faith journey and path of grace is different. Our team will lead the RCIA sessions through teaching, direction, question answering, discussion, and prayer. Our gatherings, held Sundays from 9:30-11:00 a.m. in the Parish Center, are open to all people and as different people pursue the possibility of becoming Catholic through the process, they fall into various categories as follows:
Inquirer - anyone who is in RCIA simply to check out the possibility and learn more, but is very much uncertain about making any decision.
Catechumen - any unbaptized person who has made a decision to possibly enter the Catholic Church.
Candidate - any baptized Christian who has made a decision to possibly enter the Catholic Church. A candidate can also be a baptized Catholic who has never received First Communion or any religious instruction.
Catholic Adult Confirmation Candidate - These are Catholics who join the class for a number of weeks only to prepare for their Confirmation.
Though the primary focus of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is the would-be Catholic, it encourages entire parishes to ask: How can we become a warm, welcoming, hospitable community in which our brothers and sisters can hear the Good News? RCIA sessions invite everyone to reach out to catechumens by being involved. We invite lifelong parishioners, former RCIA candidates, and anyone curious about our faith. Everyone is welcome.
The RCIA Process
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults 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 full RCIA process consists of four periods of awakening, growth and formation marked by celebration of three major rites involving the whole community.
The First Phase ~ The Period of Inquiry
The period of Inquiry is a time for:
- asking questions about the Catholic faith
- building community within the group
- developing a trusting atmosphere
More importantly, it is a time for:
- examining God's presence in our lives, past and present
- learning about prayer
- fostering conversion
- developing or improving our relationship with God
- getting to know the Catholic Church
We read the Sunday Gospel for the week and discuss what it means to us in our lives. We also discuss topics such as:
- What brought you to RCIA
- What is your image of God
- Prayer and liturgy
- Who is the Holy Sprit
- Who is the Trinity
- The Saints
The Second Phase ~ The Catechumenate (Study Period)
The period of study (Catechumenate) is a time for:
- "Breaking Open the Word" or reading & discussing the Sunday Gospel
- Continuing to build community within the group
- Getting more involved in parish activities, getting to know the parish community
- Learning about the basic teachings and beliefs of the Catholic Church
More importantly, it is a time for:
- Continuing to examine God's presence in our lives, past and present
- Developing prayer life, entering into the communal worship of the parish
- Fostering conversion
- Developing or improving our relationship with God
We continue to read the Sunday Gospel for the week and discuss what it means to us in our lives. We also discuss topics such as:
- Seasons of the Church
- Who is Jesus
- Mary & the Rosary
- The Commandments
- The Bible
- Sin, Evil, Guilt
- The Incarnation
- The Catechism
Rite of Election
The Rite of Election closes the Period of the Catechumenate. This rite normally coincides with the first Sunday of Lent. At this rite, upon the testimony of sponsors and catechists and the catechumens' affirmation of their intention to join the Church, the Church makes its "election" of these catechumens to receive the Sacraments of Initiation. In the presence of the bishop (or his delegate), they inscribe their names in the Book of the Elect at the cathedral as a pledge of fidelity. Now the catechumens are called "the elect' or "the illuminandi" ("those who will be enlightened").
The Third Phase ~ The Period of Purification & Enlightenment
They now begin a Period of Purification and Enlightenment — the final, intense preparation for the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation. On the next five Sundays of Lent, three scrutinies (rites for self-searching and repentance) and the presentations of the Creed and Lord's Prayer take place. This period concludes with the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil.
The Period of purification and enlightenment is a time for:
- examining areas of sinfulness or weakness in our lives
- asking God's help in healing these areas
- prayer, fasting and almsgiving
- preparation for receiving the sacraments of initiation
We continue to read the Sunday Gospel and discuss what it means to us in our lives. We also learn about the seven sacraments:
- Anointing of the Sick
- Holy Orders
The period of purification and enlightenment is a time of final preparation for initiation. The period is one of prayer, fasting and reflection for both catechumens, now known as the Elect, and candidates.
During this period celebrated on the 3rd, 4th & 5th Sundays of Lent, the Elect experience scrutinies and exorcisms, special rites which seal their break with evil in preparation for baptism. These rites are for self-searching and repentance and have, above all, a spiritual purpose. Scrutinies are meant to uncover, then heal all that is weak, defective, or sinful in the hearts of the elect & to bring out, then s trengthen all that is upright, strong, and good. They are celebrated in order to deliver the elect from the power of sin and Satan, to protect them against temptation, and to give them strength in Christ. Just as our entire community is called to journey with the catechumens throughout the Lenten season, we recognize the need we all share for freedom from evil and its effects.
The candidates and the Elect are initiated through the third and consummating rite of the RCIA process, the Sacraments of Initiation, at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. On that night, when light drives out darkness, joyful sounds fill the silence, and we proclaim and renew our resurrection hope, the Elect culminate their long journey to initiation in the waters of Baptism. Then, with the candidates, the newly baptized are sealed with the oil of Confirmation and share the Eucharist as full members of the Roman Catholic church.
The Fourth Phase ~ The Period of Mystagogia
The period of mystagogia is a time for:
- living a sacramental life
- living out the gospel way of life
- becoming more involved in the parish
We also discuss:
- Lay Ministry
We read the Sunday Gospel during the Easter Season and discuss what it means to us in our lives. Mystagogia is the final stage of the RCIA process, but it is in turn the beginning of a pilgrimage of lifelong, continuous conversion in full communion with the Roman Catholic community of Christians.