Adult Preparation for Confirmation
Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the "sacraments of Christian initiation, whose unity must be safeguarded. It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace.
--Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1285
--Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1285
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is a process for bringing into the Catholic Church both those who have never been baptized (Catechumens) and those who were baptized in a non-Catholic Christian Church (Candidates for Full Communion). RCIA is also the best way for adult Catholics who have never been confirmed to prepare for that final Sacrament of Initiation.
Each year in September, St. Andrew’s begins a new class of RCIA, and we invite to participate everyone who would like to join the Catholic Church or who is at least curious to understand the teachings and customs of Catholic Christianity. For those who have never been baptized, this process will culminate in Baptism at the Great Vigil of Easter in the spring. Those who are already baptized will be received into full communion with the Catholic Church by a profession of faith at the same Vigil. Finally, the newly baptized adults and those who make their profession of faith will all be confirmed and share in the Holy Eucharist for the first time at the Easter Vigil.
While classroom work is a part of the process, RCIA is more than a class; it is a gradual introduction to the customs, beliefs, practices, and devotions of the Catholic Faith, and the initial steps to becoming a serious disciple of Jesus Christ. Those who participate in RCIA will be guided to understand the richness of Catholic worship and teaching as a preparation for making a profession of faith at Easter: “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.”
AN OVERVIEW OF THE RITES OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS (RCIA)
WHAT IS RCIA?
RCIA is short for Rites of Christian Initiation of Adults. It is the process for adults thinking about or desiring to become full members of the Roman Catholic Church. The local parish prepares men and women through a process that focuses on discerning God’s invitation to live a Catholic Christian life and leading to serving Jesus in daily life. (The RCIA: Transforming the Church. Thomas H. Morris. New York: Paulist Press, 1989.) The process culminates with persons being baptized or renewing their baptismal promises, being confirmed, and making their first Eucharist. Usually this takes place during the Easter Vigil service. The process of RCIA normally takes from nine (9) months to three (3) years.
WHO MAY PARTICIPATE?
1. Any adult and older teen (17 years or older) who is not Catholic and is interested in becoming Catholic.
2. Any adult (and older teen--17 years or older) baptized Catholic who has NOT made their first Eucharist and/or Confirmation.
3. While not required, some Catholics who have been away from the Church for a significant period of time (i.e., several years) have found it helpful as a way to return to the Church.
WHAT ARE THE STAGES IN THE RCIA PROCESS?
For Those Who Seek Baptism
Period of Inquiry
This is a time to explore the Catholic faith and ask questions. It is also a time to begin hearing the stories of the Gospel. Participants ask questions about the Gospel and about the Church.
Rite of Acceptance
This is a first welcome into the community and moves a person into the Period of the Catechumenate. New title: Catechumen.
This is a time to deepen faith and conversion within the church community. Catechumens learn more about the Bible, Church teachings, worship, sacraments, morality, and service. This period may last anywhere between 3 months to 3 years, depending on the needs of the Catechumen.
Rite of Election
When a Catechumen is ready for initiation, they prepare for the Easter Vigil by first celebrating this Rite of Election on the first Sunday of Lent. They are brought to the Bishop for a blessing and gain a new title: Elect.
The Period of Purification and Enlightenment
During the season of Lent, the Elect spend time in prayer and self examination as they prepare for initiation at the Easter Vigil. There is limited formal instruction during this period.
Initiation through Baptism, Confirmation and 1st Eucharist.
During the Easter Season, up until Pentecost, the newly baptized, called Neophytes, spend time understanding the sacramental life with an emphasis on the gospel, Eucharist, and works of charity.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR BEING A CONFIRMATION SPONSOR?
- A sponsor must be someone other than the parent of the one to be confirmed.
- A sponsor must have received the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist.
- A sponsor must be at least 16 years of age and may be male or female regardless of the sex of the candidate.
- A sponsor must be leading a life in harmony with the faith and the role to be undertaken; therefore, if married, must be married in the Church and if single, must be striving to live a chaste life and therefore cannot be living with a person outside of marriage.
- A sponsor must be a practicing Catholic, registered in a parish, who regularly attends Mass on Sundays and Holy Days and receives the Holy Eucharist.
RCIA classes for adults begin anew in September of each year at St. Andrew. Classes are held on Monday evenings, 6-8 pm at the parish hall.
For more information, contact Lorraine Lambert .
RICA Español classes for adults meet on Monday evenings, 7-8:30 pm in the education building. For more information, contact Deacon Jesus Reyes, 936-404-2849.