Rite of Christian Initiation Adults

Do you know a Catholic adult who has not been confirmed? Do you have a friend who is not a Catholic whom you’ve been thinking of inviting to Mass with you? Listen to the Holy Spirit this week and see if you are being sent out to invite that person to share in the fullest gifts of God through the Catholic Church. RCIA classes are held each Thursday from 7 to 9 PM in the OLOL Convent (first floor). For more information contact the rectory office at office@bethesdalourdes.org

What is R.C.I.A and who is it for?

R.C.I.A. is the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. It is a gradual process of initiation in the Catholic Faith through prayer, study, discussion, and ritual for:

  • Unbaptized adults who wish to explore the Catholic Faith and to possibly prepare for the initiation sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.
  • Adults who have been baptized in another Christian community who want to learn more about the Catholic religion and be received into the Faith.
  • Baptized Catholics who have not received the sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation and who desire to enter fully into the community of the Catholic Church, perhaps as preparation for Marriage in the Church.
What does the process involve?

There are four stages or periods with rites or ceremonies as gateways between them, celebrated within a Sunday Mass or at a formal diocesan celebration. These rites mark and empower the spiritual growth of the Catechumens (unbaptized) and Candidates (baptized) as they prepare for full membership in the Church.

The Four Stages and Three Gateways of the R.C.I.A.

PERIOD of the PRECATECHUMENATE or INQUIRY

This is a stage of informal meetings, a time of evangelization-sharing the Gospel, answering questions, and introduction to basic Catholic life, prayers, and teachings. Inquirers strive to open their hearts to the Gospel and the workings of the Holy Spirit and begin the conversion process, as the Church helps them discern whether God is calling them into the Catholic Church.

Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens / Rite of Welcoming

PERIOD of the CATECHUMENATE

After being placed in formal relationship with the Church through the Rite of Acceptance and Welcoming, the Catechumens (unbaptized) and Candidates (baptized) enter a period of receiving gradual and systematic instruction in the teachings of the Catholic Faith based on the Catechism, as well as a time of formation in prayer and works of charity. They also receive special blessings and prayers and participate on Sundays in the Breaking Open the Word-a shared discussion on the meaning of the Scriptures for their lives.

Rite of Election / Call to Continuing Conversion

PERIOD of PURIFICATION and ENLIGHTENMENT

Through the Rite of Election, the Catechumens and Candidates enter into this period which corresponds with the season of Lent. This is an intense time of prayer, discernment, and spiritual preparation for the Easter sacraments. Catechumens and Candidates continue to Break Open the Word on Sundays and to receive special blessings, help in scrutinizing their hearts, and the Presentations of the Creed and Lord’s Prayer.

Sacraments of Initiation – Easter Vigil

PERIOD OF POSTBAPTISMAL CATECHESIS or MYSTAGOGY

Following Easter until Pentecost, we “unfold the Mysteries” that have taken place. The Gospels in this period are given so that together we might reflect on what this new life in Christ means and how the newly initiated can become more a part of parish life. It is dedicated to deepening the Christian experience, for spiritual growth and for entering more fully into the life and unity of the community. The newly baptized and newly received begin their neophyte year which continues until Easter Vigil the following year.

Interested in serving the RCIA?

What can parishioners do?

If you know someone who is thinking about joining the Church, encourage them to call — sometimes all one needs is to be asked. Offer to become a sponsor, catechist, team member, Sunday Word minister or help with hospitality. Donate money for bibles, catechisms, missals, candles, crosses, etc.Pray for those in the RCIA process.

Who are the Sponsors?

Sponsors are members of the Catholic community who make the journey with individuals in the RCIA process. The sponsors (or godparents) role is to:

  • Witness their own faith to their candidate (or catechumen) by modeling the Christian life and providing practical information about Catholic life and practices
  • Assist them at the weekly sessions and introduce them to other parishioners; accompany them on certain Sundays and session nights for special Rites and at the Easter Vigil; pray for them
  • Give testimony of their candidate’s (or catechumen’s) spiritual growth and readiness to be received into the Church
  • To be a sponsor (or godparent) one needs to be at least age 16, a practicing Catholic in good standing with the Church, and have already received the sacrament of Confirmation.
What do Team Members do?

The Team represents the parish community; the body of Christ. Team members attend the sessions and help with such activities as setting up and taking down the room, providing hospitality, arranging the library, distributing materials, facilitating group discussions, leading prayer, guiding the Breaking Open the Word on Sundays, witnessing to Catholic life–whatever gift they have been given by God to share.

When does RCIA meet?

RCIA meets on Thursday nights from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the OLOL convent, as well as on Sundays, beginning in the period of the Catechumenate. Use the contact information below for the day and time of the summer Inquiry Sessions.What if I think I might be interested, but I’m still hesitant?

If there is some concern or reason that you are reluctant to begin the RCIA, please use the contact information below to discuss your particular situation.

Contact Information

If you, or someone you know is interested in knowing more about the Catholic way of life, with the possibility of becoming a member of the Church, or a Catholic who wishes to complete their initiation, please call the rectory at (301) 654-1287 for more information or send an e-mail to office@bethesdalourdes.org. Please consider sharing your time and your faith with those who are knocking at our door asking to join our Catholic family. This is both a powerful and prayerful ministry, and is at the core of the Church’s mandate to “Go… and make disciples…” [Mt 28:19-20]. Your own faith-life will be renewed and enriched! Please keep all those involved in the RCIA process in your prayers.