A Conversion Experience of Mind, Heart and Spirit
Awakening to Christ and seeking out the Church through the RCIA comes about in a variety of ways.
For some it is a sense that “something is missing” – a sense, perhaps provoked by some crisis, that there is more to life than what they have now or maybe there is a better way to live than how they live now.
For many, the journey begins because of a relationship with a Catholic – a spouse, fiancé, relative or close friend.
Still others are drawn to inquire by the example of a Catholic life well lived.
Whatever the reason for the awakening and decision to inquire, the RCIA is a flexible process that can be adapted to each individual journey of faith. The RCIA is a process for those seeking Baptism as well as those who are already baptized in another Christian tradition but would like to be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church.
Conversion is an ongoing, lifelong process of personal spiritual growth as well as a social process in which we strengthen and draw strength from others. The RCIA process recognizes the communal nature of conversion and provides an intellectual and spiritual framework within a faith community in which an individual’s conversion experience can be understood and supported. Caring for people in the midst of this life-changing experience is the goal of the RCIA ministry.
Preparation for Initiation: Awakening, Growth and Formation
The full RCIA process consists of four periods of awakening, growth and formation marked by celebration of three major rites involving the whole community.
During the first period of the journey, the Inquiry period, seekers are invited to ask questions about Christianity and receive truthful, life-sharing answers from Catholic Christians. The informal discussions during the inquiry period help the seekers link their personal life stories to the Good News as witnessed and lived by the Roman Catholic community.
First Major Rite: Rite of Acceptance or Welcome
As each inquirer desires to continue the conversion journey within our faith community, he or she is invited to experience the first major rites of the RCIA process, the Rite of Acceptance for the unbaptized and the Rite of Welcome for those who are already baptized. Several times each year at Sunday Mass, inquirers enter the second period of the journey, the catechumenate, by participating in the Rite of Acceptance or Welcome.
The word Catechumenate means “time of serious study” and inquirers who become catechumens — those who have not been baptized — or candidates — baptized Christians who have not been confirmed as Roman Catholics — join us at Sunday Mass during the Liturgy of the Word, after which they are dismissed to continue reflecting on the Scriptures. There is also the opportunity for weekly sessions where the catechumens and candidates gain a deeper knowledge of the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church. The length of the Catechumenate varies according to individual need. The norm is a year or more.
Our catechumens and candidates do not travel alone during this period. Sponsors are chosen from the parish community to act as spiritual companions, providing personal support, sharing experience of Christian life and helping make the catechumens and candidates feel “at home” with Catholic religious practice.
Second Major Rite: Rite of Election
The catechumenate period ends when a catechumen or candidate is ready to begin the third period of the journey, the period of purification and enlightenment, which coincides with the season of Lent each year. The third period of the journey is marked by the celebration of the second major rite of the RCIA process, the Rite of Election.
Purification and Enlightenment: The Three Scrutinies
The period of purification and enlightenment is a time of final preparation for initiation. The period is one of prayer, fasting and reflection for catechumens, now known as the Elect. During this period, the Elect experience special rites in preparation for baptism.
Third Major Rite: Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation
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 — the newly baptized are sealed with the oil of Confirmation and share the bread and wine of the Eucharist as full members of the Roman Catholic community.
The fourth period of the RCIA journey is called Mystogogia, which means “leading into the mysteries”. The newly initiated meet between Easter and Pentecost to explore and confirm the Easter experience. Mystogogia is the final stage of the RCIA process, but it is in turn the beginning of a pilgrimage of lifelong, continuous conversion.
Landings – A safe haven for returning Catholics
Romans 8 – The Future Glory
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,g for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Romans 8:18-29). Source: http://esv.scripturetext.com/romans/8.htm
Catholic Encyclopedia – The Consummation of All Things
“There is mention also of the physical universe sharing in the general consummation (2 Peter 3:13; Romans 8:19 sqq.; Revelation 21:1 sqq.). The present heaven and earth will be destroyed, and a new heaven and earth take their place. But what, precisely, this process will involve, or what purpose the renovated world will serve is not revealed. It may possibly be part of the glorious Kingdom of Christ of which “there shall be no end”. Christ’s militant reign is to cease with the accomplishment of His office as Judge (1 Corinthians 15:24 sqq.), but as King of the elect whom He has saved He will reign with them in glory forever.”
|1 Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. 2 οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν. 3 πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν ὃ γέγονεν 4 ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων. 5 καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν. 6 Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος, ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ θεοῦ, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἰωάννης: 7 οὗτος ἦλθεν εἰς μαρτυρίαν, ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός, ἵνα πάντες πιστεύσωσιν δι’ αὐτοῦ. 8 οὐκ ἦν ἐκεῖνος τὸ φῶς, ἀλλ’ ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός. 9 Ἦν τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀληθινόν, ὃ φωτίζει πάντα ἄνθρωπον, ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον. 10 ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἦν, καὶ ὁ κόσμος δι’ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ ὁ κόσμος αὐτὸν οὐκ ἔγνω. 11 εἰς τὰ ἴδια ἦλθεν, καὶ οἱ ἴδιοι αὐτὸν οὐ παρέλαβον. 12 ὅσοι δὲ ἔλαβον αὐτόν, ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τέκνα θεοῦ γενέσθαι, τοῖς πιστεύουσιν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ, 13 οἳ οὐκ ἐξ αἱμάτων οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος σαρκὸς οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος ἀνδρὸς ἀλλ’ ἐκ θεοῦ ἐγεννήθησαν. 14 καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν, καὶ ἐθεασάμεθα τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ, δόξαν ὡς μονογενοῦς παρὰ πατρός, πλήρης χάριτος καὶ ἀληθείας. 15 Ἰωάννης μαρτυρεῖ περὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ κέκραγεν λέγων: οὗτος ἦν ὁ εἰπών: ὁ ὀπίσω μου ἐρχόμενος ἔμπροσθέν μου γέγονεν, ὅτι πρῶτός μου ἦν. 16 ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ πληρώματος αὐτοῦ ἡμεῖς πάντες ἐλάβομεν, καὶ χάριν ἀντὶ χάριτος: 17 ὅτι ὁ νόμος διὰ Μωϋσέως ἐδόθη, ἡ χάρις καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐγένετο. 18 θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακεν πώποτε: μονογενὴς θεὸς ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρὸς, ἐκεῖνος ἐξηγήσατο.|
1 In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God: and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made. 4 In him was life: and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in darkness: and the darkness did not comprehend it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to give testimony of the light, that all men might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but was to give testimony of the light. 9 That was the true light, which enlightens every man that comes into this world. 10 He was in the world: and the world was made by him: and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own: and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. 13 Who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth. 15 John bears witness of him and cries out, saying: This was he of whom I spoke: He that shall come after me is preferred before me: because he was before me. 16 And of his fullness we all have received: and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given by Moses: grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 18 No man has seen God at any time: the only begotten Son who is in the Bosom of the Father, he has declared him.
1 In principio erat Verbum, et Verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat Verbum. 2 Hoc erat in principio apud Deum. 3 Omnia per ipsum facta sunt : et sine ipso factum est nihil, quod factum est. 4 In ipso vita erat, et vita erat lux hominum : 5 et lux in tenebris lucet, et tenebræ eam non comprehenderunt. 6 Fuit homo missus a Deo, cui nomen erat Joannes. 7 Hic venit in testimonium ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine, ut omnes crederent per illum. 8 Non erat ille lux, sed ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine. 9 Erat lux vera, quæ illuminat omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum. 10 In mundo erat, et mundus per ipsum factus est, et mundus eum non cognovit. 11 In propria venit, et sui eum non receperunt. 12 Quotquot autem receperunt eum, dedit eis potestatem filios Dei fieri, his qui credunt in nomine ejus : 13 qui non ex sanguinibus, neque ex voluntate carnis, neque ex voluntate viri, sed ex Deo nati sunt. 14 Et Verbum caro factum est, et habitavit in nobis : et vidimus gloriam ejus, gloriam quasi unigeniti a Patre plenum gratiæ et veritatis. 15 Joannes testimonium perhibet de ipso, et clamat dicens : Hic erat quem dixi : Qui post me venturus est, ante me factus est : quia prior me erat. 16 Et de plenitudine ejus nos omnes accepimus, et gratiam pro gratia : 17 quia lex per Moysen data est, gratia et veritas per Jesum Christum facta est. 18 Deum nemo vidit umquam : unigenitus Filius, qui est in sinu Patris, ipse enarravit.