The letters stand for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults which refers to the special way through which non-Catholic adults become members of the Catholic Church. Usually all adults wishing to become Catholics are received into the Church during the Easter Saturday Vigil and the RCIA programme is designed to prepare and support them in their faith journey towards this reception.
The programme has its roots in the very earliest days of the Christian Church. As new churches were formed the communities would be anxious to pass on their faith in the Lord Jesus to others. Each community originally did this in its own way but after a while a pattern emerged which today forms the basis of the RCIA. This continued in the early church until about the sixth century when infant baptism had become the norm and adult initiation was quite rare.
There are an increasing number of adults unsatisfied by our secular society and thinking about joining our Church and so RCIA is needed again.
The RCIA is a reminder of a truth that has always been recognised by the Christian community: to be a Christian it isn’t enough to walk off the street and into a church and ask the priest for baptism. There is no such thing as an “overnight conversion”. Growth in faith is a gradual process and this is as true for an adult as it is for someone baptised as a baby and growing in faith throughout childhood.
RCIA in this Parish.
The group meetings that support the RCIA in this parish are held from mid-September to the end of May and consist of faith sharing, scripture reading, prayer and discussion about the message of Christ and also include information about teachings and practices of the Catholic Church and preparation for the Rites that are the heart of this experience. The whole programme is designed to help the spiritual development of each individual and promote a real feeling of acceptance into the community of the Church. This is achieved by taking the candidates in supportive groups through four distinct stages from the enquiry at the beginning of the first stage through to full participation in the life of the parish by the end of stage four. There are special rites that mark the transition from one stage to the next.
Although the RCIA programme is designed primarily for non-Catholics considering joining the Catholic Church it has been found to be of value to others outside the church who wish, maybe for family or ecumenical reasons or just curiosity, to know more about Catholicism. It also gives a splendid opportunity for Catholics to review the full, adult meaning of their faith. Our mixed group of Catholics and non-Catholics gives everyone a chance to reflect on the Christian message and what it means to each individually and as a community.
The programme recognises that all adults who have a genuine desire to seek for meaning in their life have a valuable contribution to make to this parish. Some may not wish to continue through all the stages or embrace full membership of the Church; to these we extend our thanks for the time they spend with us and assure them that our friendship and welcome will always be here.
For further information please contact our Parish Priest, or Complete the request form below.