Becoming Catholic

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RCIA at the Cathedral

 

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is specifically designed for persons who are not baptized.  When an unbaptized person expresses a desire to become a member of the Catholic Church an intense, searching and formative journey begins.  If you are considering becoming Catholic please contact Sr. Marie Lucek, O.P., email or call (907) 586-1340 or (907) 209-3577 cell.

There are five stages which are part of the RCIA journey:

Pre-catechumenate – This stage is meant primarily as a time to question and observe.  It can be any length of time from several months to many years, depending on the readiness of the person.  This stage ends with the Rite of Acceptance.

Catechumenate – The stage probably most familiar to the congregation, because this is the time when catechumens are dismissed from the Sunday Mass, so parishioners are reminded each Sunday of their presence.  During this stage catechumens learn about the Catholic faith and share their experiences of how God is working in their lives.  It is also a time for questioning and for discernment.  The Rite of Election completes this stage.

Period of Purification and Enlightenment – This occurs during Lent.  It is not a time for instruction, but a time for deepening prayer and reflection in preparation for the big moment which will take place at the Easter Vigil.

Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation – At the Easter Vigil catechumens receive the three sacraments of initiation—Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.

Mystagogia – As a “follow-up” to their Easter Vigil experience, Mystagogia helps the new Christians reflect on and share this experience, and also realize that being a Catholic Christian is a lifelong journey which never really ends.

Baptized Christians

When a person asks about joining the Catholic Church we first try to find out about their past experiences of being formed in their faith.  Some have had rich experiences in formal classes or have even attended a faith-based school, while others have had very little training in what it means to be Christian.  Based on what their faith experiences have been, a decision is made together with the person about what would be best for him/her. The Liturgical Committee of the Bishops Conference has stated that “discernment should be made regarding the length of catechetical formation required for each individual candidate for reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church.”

In some cases if someone has been both baptized and confirmed and has a strong and informed foundation in their Christian faith that person is received into the Church by a simple Act of Profession of Faith.  A period of preparation precedes this day with the actual time period depending on the individual.

For a person who needs or wants more formation in their growth in faith sessions are held on various topics of doctrine and spirituality.  It is recommended that reception into the Church for baptized persons, which usually includes Confirmation, be done at a time other than the Easter Vigil.

We rejoice with each person who wants to continue his/her faith journey by membership in our Catholic community, and we welcome them into our midst.