Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
The R.C.I.A. is the process now used within the Roman Catholic Church for the formation and development of those adults, and children of catechetical age, who are called to come to live as baptized Christians within the Catholic tradition. It is a journey of faith and conversion for all those involved.
The present Rite originated in 1963, in the “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy,” one of the documents of the 2nd Vatican Council. The document directed that the catechumenate for adults, in several steps, be restored. This then is a re-establishment of the way the early Christians were initiated into faith. The new Rite, shaped by bishops, theologians, catechists and others, and approved by the Holy Father, was issued by the Canadian Bishops in 1974.
Each group develops its own design for this journey of faith, which always includes the elements of prayer, catechesis, service, and community. The process progresses in 4 stages, differentiated by steps or liturgical rites.
Evangelization and Inquiry
A time for answering questions, and a time for establishing trust and communication. The Word of God is proclaimed, Christian values affirmed, and all are invited to reflect upon their lives in the light of God’s call and the message of Christianity.
In this period, faith is gradually brought to maturity in 4 ways-
- doctrinal formation accommodated to the liturgical year, and enriched by seasonal celebrations of the Word.
- living closely with others in the community, who share their faith and love, and who know well the advantages and demands of the Catholic way of life.
- regular participation in Catholic worship and prayer.
- learning how to express faith in serving others in love.
Purification and Enlightenment
This period takes place during the season of Lent, when the catechumens, along with the whole Church, are led into a time of prayer, quiet reflection, call to repentance, fasting, and giving to others - that death to self that allows the risen Christ to enter with the Easter celebration of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.
In this period, officially from Easter to Pentecost, but in reality including the remainder of Christian life, the Neophytes, (and all Catholics) are encouraged to reflect upon and share their experiences of the mysteries of Christ, and to celebrate them, especially with the community at Sunday Eucharist. Their sacramental experience gives them a deeper intensity and scope, and they are encouraged to continue to discern their gift within the daily life of the community.
These are celebrations along the way, usually in the context of Sunday Eucharist. We all rejoice in the fact that the Lord is present in the candidate’s life, and has brought him/her to a particular stage in the journey. This celebration, by the grace of God, intensifies this reality and enables it to grow.
Our group is composed of those inquiring into faith, their sponsors who accompany them on the journey, catechists, co-ordinator and clergy.
The group meets weekly for approximately 2 hours. Their time together is spent in prayer, instruction, discussion, and social time. Participation in discussion is purely optional.
Beginning in the period of the Catechumenate, catechumens are dismissed from the Sunday liturgy following the Homily, at which time they gather together with their catechist to share the Word of God just proclaimed. They are not yet invited to share in the Table of the Eucharist, and so we invite them to be nourished by the Word, where Jesus is truly and equally present.
The R.C.I.A. is designed for those who feel called towards Baptism or to Full Communion with the Catholic Church- also for baptized Catholics who have not participated in Confirmation and/or Eucharist. Here at St. Norbert’s, we have an ongoing rite, which means we welcome candidates at any time of year.
Help of All
- Please keep all those involved in the process in your prayers.
- Invite someone you know who is interested in the Catholic Church. There is no obligation!
- Volunteer to be a sponsor, or a hospitality person.
Please contact the office at 416-636-0213.