The Church is generally known to have a lot of special names for things. Sometimes it's helpful to explain these terms; for instance, "RCIA". RCIA is an acronym that means Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. So, what does that mean? in this case, Rite means a special, prescribed way in which people wanting to become Catholics are instructed, and made holy along the way with special, set ways we pray (also called Rites) celebrated at successive intervals of a time. These Rites are special moments of grace.
You may have participated at the Mass, in mid-March, where we celebrated the "Rite of Sending" from our Church for "Election" and recognition by the Bishop. At that time our "Elect" (Baptized and unbaptized People who are declared ready by their catechists and sponsors to begin their final preparation for the initiation sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist), are personally "Elected" (Chosen), and called to continuing conversion as they intensify their final preparations.
Later in March, we began celebrating the first of Three "Scrutinies", on the third, fourth, and fifth Sundays of Lent. Scrutiny comes from the word "Scrutinize". When we scrutinize something we look at it carefully, examine it thoroughly. The Rites called the "Scrutinies" reflect this very kind of examination -- we look within ourselves to uncover what is weak (or what is keeping us from Christ), and we also look to bring out what is good and upright in our hearts. Then we look to Christ to heal those weaknesses and strengthen us to face further temptations.
Please pray for all those going through the "RCIA" process, especially the special person you've been asked to pray for in your "Lenten Table Prayer" Card.
What is RCIA Process?
The RCIA is a process by which we welcome and prepare adults to enter the Catholic faith.. The acronym, RCIA stands for "R" ite of
"C"hristian "I"nitiation of "A"dults "Rite" comes from the word ritual, which means set ways in which we welcome, pray, celebrate, teach, etc. "Christian Initiation" stands for the Initiation Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist, which are celebrated. "Adults" stands for anyone 18 years of age and older.
It"s an experience of welcoming and being welcomed, of revealing and being revealed, of supporting and being supported, of joining and incorporating. It's a means of helping an outsider to explore the Church community, while at the same time being a means of helping the Church community to come to know and appreciate the new believer who seeks to join their community.
This process begins in the Fall every year (though people may enter at almost any time) and runs to completion around the middle of May, depending on when an adult enters the process and provided there aren't impediments to slow their progress at some point. We meet on Mondays from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Hayes Community Room which is in the Rectory building.
RCIA is divided into 5 phases:
The first is The Inquiry Period (Pre-Catechumenate) For some, it is an introduction to Christianity, for others it"s exploring a new Christian faith, for still others, it's being baptized Catholic but never raised in the faith.. During this time we talk and share about God, learning about Jesus in His stories and our stories, the Church He founded, the Bible, prayer, finding similarities, praying over Scripture and sharing what it means in our own lives, the Mass, asking questions (Hot Seat - all you ever wanted to know about the Catholic Church but were afraid to ask!) and our own discoveries about God.
The second phase is The Catechumenate period (teaching) where presentations are given on a variety of subjects about the Catholic faith. Actually, teaching presentations are given throughout the following phases. These subjects are always connected to Scripture. because our experience is always rooted in God experiences. We are not divorced from Jesus, Mary and others before us. We find that "our" experience and what is in Scripture are remarkably similar and we spend time each session sharing what it means and what it has to do with our lives.
The third phase is The Time of Decision, Choice and Commitment and it is celebrated at the Rite of Election at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago.
The fourth phase is The Spiritual Preparation (also called period of Enlightenment). This phase coincides with the season of Lent when all Catholics re-examine their lives and cleanse themselves of what may still stand in the way of living for God. During this time there is emphasis on prayer, a Lenten retreat, parish mission, and final preparation for those who will celebrate the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist on Holy Saturday.
The final phase is the Period of Post-Sacramental Study where we reflect on the mysteries of the sacraments, learn practical aspects of being Catholic, learn and discuss the issues confronting the Church today and explore how to become a real part of parish life at OLH
Interested in finding out more about the Catholic faith and RCIA?.....don't hesitate. Please contact the Parish Rectory @ (847) 872-8778 for more information.
Who can be a "RCIA Sponsors"
What Does It Mean To Become an RCIA Sponsor?
The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) is a program that allows interested individuals an opportunity to examine the Christian faith in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. The people on this wonderful faith journey need a partner, a fellow traveler, because sometimes the road is difficult, and it's not always easy to see where it's leading. They need a companion, a guide, a friend who knows the way! St. Augustine referred to the Church as a community of "Christians begetting Christians." In the early days, the Church was dependent on the witness of every member. Welcoming new Catholics was not only the responsibility of the clergy, but belonged with the entire community of the faithful. Thus, we have the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. This, in turn, gives each person in our parish the opportunity to share the gift of his/her faith with someone who is seeking to know God through our Church. This faith sharing is called the Ministry of Sponsorship.
The RCIA Sponsors play a vital role in helping show what it means to be a Catholic and a Christian; not by being an authority on religion, but by sharing through their own experiences how God touches us in our daily lives.
RCIA Sponsorship is also very rewarding. As a former participant in the program, I have experienced the closeness and openness of this sharing process. Not only will the sponsor make many new friends, but will also gain a much deeper understanding of his/her own faith.
The sponsor's responsibilities include: keeping in regular contact with the candidates, encouraging them, listening to their faith and their doubts, sharing time and experience in a friendly manner, participating in the catechumenate sessions when possible, praying with and for candidates, and introducing the candidates to the other members of the community. The RCIA meets three Mondays a month from 7:30 to 9:30PM.
There will be a session that will help you to understand the RCIA process, and give you some insight into the responsibility, privilege, and joy of the Ministry of Sponsorship. Don't be afraid! Trust in the power of the Holy Spirit! Answer the call to be a Parish Sponsor.
If you would be interested in being a Parish Sponsor, or if you have any questions, please contact the Rectory at (847) 872-8778.