The RCIA, Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, refers to the process of formation, ritual, and prayer through which adults prepare for entrance into the Church through Baptism, Entrance into Full Communion of the Catholic Church (for those already validly baptized in non-Catholic Christian churches), and completion of the Sacraments of Initiation (Confirmation and First Eucharist).
Members of the Parish Staff are involved in making presentations, and leading discussions on the topics of the Trinity, Jesus, the Bible, prayer, the sacraments, moral theology and the liturgy of the Church. These presentations are meant to help those in the process come to a deeper understanding of our life and faith as a Church.
The process begins with an interview. Those seeking information about the entrance into the Church or the completion of the Sacrament of Initiation should call the rectory for an appointment. The interview is a conversation in which the process of the RCIA and expectations are explained and questions are answered. A person at this point in the process is referred to as an Inquirer, and is not asked to make any commitment.
Formal sessions begin in mid September. All inquirers meet together with pastoral team members on a weekly basis. Sessions are not formal classes, but presentations and discussions made in an informal and non threatening atmosphere.
After several months, usually in early December, those who have decided that they are certain of their desire to celebrate the Sacraments of Initiation at Easter, are enrolled as Catechumens (if they have not been baptized) or as Candidates (if they have been validly baptized and are preparing for Entrance into Full Communion of the Catholic Church, or, if already baptized Catholics, are preparing for the completion of the Sacraments of Initiation). From this point on, Catechumens and those Candidates who have not received First Eucharist, formally participate in the Sunday parish liturgy, being sent forth after the homily, to continue study of the Sunday scriptures.
On the First Sunday of Lent, a more immediate preparation for the Catechumens and Candidates begins.
Special Liturgies are celebrated at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre on the First Sunday of Lent. At this liturgy the Rite of Election is celebrated, marking the close of the catechumenate. The Church formally elects those who have been preparing through prayer, reflection and study for the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation at Easter. They are now called the Elect. During the Lenten period, special rites, or scrutinies, are celebrated on the third, fourth, and fifth Sundays of Lent. At these rites we pray that the elect might be freed and protected from power of sin and evil. Minor rites, the giving of the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed are also celebrated during this time.
The Sacraments of Initiation are celebrated at the Easter Vigil, the most important liturgy of the Church year. In addition to the celebration of Baptism, Confirmation, and First Eucharist, non-Catholic Christian adults make the profession of faith and are received into Full Communion of the Catholic Church.
Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.” -Helen Keller