“Since many of you do not belong to the Catholic Church and others are non-believers, from the bottom of my heart I give this silent blessing to each and every one of you, respecting the conscience of each one of you but knowing that each one of you is a child of God.”
- Pope Francis
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the process through which interested adults and older children are gradually introduced to the Roman Catholic faith and way of life. It isn’t a religious education class, but an opportunity to learn about the Christian way of life.
RCIA – A Journey for Adults in the Catholic Faith. RCIA is for you if you are an adult in need of Baptism, First Holy Communion or Confirmation. Or, just want to know more about your Catholic Faith. Please join us on Sundays for an informal discussion about Jesus, the church, sacraments or your questions. Our RCIA team meets with newcomers from 10am to 11am at the OLM basement (after the 9 am Sunday mass) For more info, please e-mail [email protected] or call / text Susan Silveira at 778-772-9714
Through the RCIA, you will get to know other people who are making the same spiritual journey as you! You will first attend an information meeting which will provide an overview.Anyone who wants to learn about the Catholic Church is welcome.
We have RCIA, the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults; in other words, adult catechism for those who are exploring being baptised in the Catholic Church, wanting to be received into full communion with the Church or who want to brush up on the basic teachings of the Catholic Faith.
The Coordinator for RCIA invites you to join this group or assist in this important program. There is a team of volunteers who would love to have you join them.
The Unbaptized Adult
The Unbaptized Adult
The RCIA process consists of four periods and three major Rites, or sacred ceremonies, through which ubaptized adults are gradually drawn into the faith and life of the Catholic Church. In a way, the periods and Rites resemble the steps leading up to and following marriage. This is fitting since Jesus Christ is the divine Bridegroom, and all are invited through the RCIA to belong to his Bride, the Catholic Church.
I. Period of Evangelization & Precatechumate
i. First Step or Major Rite: Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens
II. Period of the Catechumenate
Minor Rites in the Catechumenate
- Celebrations of the Word of God
- Minor Exorcisms
- Prayers of Blessing
- Optional: Anointings and anticipated Presentations of the Creed and Lord’s Prayer (normally take place in the next period)
ii. Second Step or Major Rite: Election or Enrollment of Names
III. Period of Purification & Enlightenment
Minor Rites in the Period of Purification & Enlightenment
- Presentations of the Creed & Lord’s Prayer
- Preparation Rites on Holy Saturday
iii. Third Step or Major Rite: Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation & Eucharist
IV. Period of Postbaptismal Catechesis or Mystagogy & the Neophyte Year
Refer to Page 14 of the RCIA Ritual Text for more information
An appendix in the RCIA textbook approved for use in Canada sets out the sequence of Rites that lead to the full communion of the Catholic Church for baptized adults. See Pages 267-268 in the RCIA ritual text for more information.
Rite of Welcoming Candidates
- Celebrations of God’s Word, blessings, prayers for strength
Rite of Calling Candidates to Lenten Renewal
- Penitential services
- Presentation of the Creed
- Presentation of the Lord’s Prayer
- Sacrament of Penance
Completion of initiation of baptized Catholics and/or reception into full communion for those baptized into other Christian communions
What is the Essence of RCIA ?
The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) is a formal program of catechetical instruction, ascetically practice (prayer and spirituality), and liturgies whereby adults — calls catechumens — are formally admitted into the Church and receive the Sacraments of Initiation — Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist. (The Sacrament of Penance is received later since baptism washes away all sin — original sin and actual sin.) The “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” of the Second Vatican Council decreed, “The catechumenate for adults, comprising several distinct steps, is to be restored and brought into use at the discretion of the local ordinary. By this means the time of the catechumenate, which is intended as a period of suitable instruction, may be sanctified by sacred rites to be celebrated at successive intervals of time” (No. 64).
This mandate first calls to mind a “restoration” of something that one time existed in the Church. St. Paul in his Letter to the Galatians mentioned that “the man instructed in the Word [i.e., a catechumen] should share all he has with his instructor” (6:6), indicating a formal preparation for entrance into the Church. St. Justin Martyr (d. c. 165) in his first Apology described the catechumenate: “Those who are persuaded and believe in the truth of our teachings and sayings undertake to live them accordingly; they are taught to ask, with fasting, for the remission of their sins; we also praying and fasting with them. Then they are led by us to a place where there is water, and they are regenerated in the same way as we have been regenerated.” Tertulian :(d. c. 220) coined the title “catechumen” and reproached the pagans for not making a distinction between them and the “faithful.” Remember that during this time, the Church was under persecution by the Roman Empire and was confronted with various heresies; therefore, the Church wanted a very formal, careful period of instruction to prevent the infiltration of both persecutors and heretics.
The catechumens themselves were distinguished between inquirers (audientes), those initially interested in the faith, and actual catechumens who had made an initial commitment to pursue the faith. The catechumenate involved several stages, each with a catechetical, ascetically and liturgical facet, and usually lasted three years. During this time, they could attend Mass through the Liturgy of the Word, but could not participate in the Liturgy of the Eucharist. AT the end of this period, the catechumens were examined, not so much for the knowledge, but to determine whether they lived the faith devoutly and had a since conviction of faith. If the examination was favorable, the catechumen became a candidate for baptism, receive further instruction, and was baptized at the Easter Vigil Mass.
After the legalization of Christianity in 313, the catechumenate began to fall into disuse for various reasons: The fear of persecution was greatly lessened. Baptism of infants became the norm with adult baptism waning. Conversion of the barbarian invaders precluded any prolonged period of instruction; actually, Pope Gregory the Great (d. 604) mandated only a forty day preparation period for these people. By the Middle Ages, the catechumenate had disappeared, with only traces remaining in the rites of Baptism and formal reception into the Church.
Given this brief history, the Second Vatican Council saw the need to restore the formal catechumenate for adults. In 1972, the Congregation for Divine Worship issued a new rite, approved by Pope Paul VI. As in the early Church, RVIA is a gradual process that involves the whole community of the faithful. Not only does RCIA prepare individuals for entrance into the Church, it allows the members of the Church to renew their faith.
During the course of the RCIA program, the individual follows a spiritual journey of “steps’ accomplished through defined periods punctuated with formal rites. The first period is the Precatechumenate, when candidates inquire about the faith and receive evangelization. Hopefully, the person comes to that initial conversion and step of faith, aided by the grace of God. This period ends with the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens when the candidates publicly declare their intention to enter the Church.
This Rite of Acceptance then begins the Period of the Catechumenate, during which the catechumens receive catechetical, ascetically and liturgical training. catechetical instruction is of the utmost importance; “This catechesis leads the catechumens not only to an appropriate acquaintance with dogmas and precepts but also to a profound sense of the mystery of salvation in which they desire to participate” (RCIA, No. 75). During this time, the catechumens should undergo a conversion of mind and action, becoming acquainted with the teachings of the faith and acquiring a spirit of charity. The sponsors and parish community assist the catechumens by their example and support. At Sunday Mass, the catechumens receive special exorcisms, blessings and anointings following the homily; however, after the Liturgy of the Word, they leave the Church. The Catechumenate may extend over a prolonged period of time, even years if necessary.
The Rite of Election closes the Period of the Catechumenate. This rite normally coincides with the first Sunday of Lent. At this rite, upon the testimony of sponsors and catechists and the catechumens’ affirmation of their intention to join the Church, the Church makes its “election” of these catechumens to receive the Sacraments of Initiation. In the presence of the bishop (or his delegate), they inscribe their names in the Book of the Elect at the cathedral as a pledge of fidelity. Now the catechumens are called “the elect’ or “the illuminandi” (“those who will be enlightened”). They now begin a Period of Purification and Enlightenment — the final, intense preparation for the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation. On the next five Sundays of Lent, three scrutinies (rites for self-searching and repentance) and the presentations of the Creed and Lord’s Prayer take place. This period concludes with the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil.
After the Easter Vigil, the newly baptized and confirmed members of the Church (technically called neophytes) enter the Period of Postbaptismal Catechesis or Mystagogy. The neophytes grow in their understanding of the mysteries of the faith and strengthen their bonding with the rest of the faithful. They should enter more fully into the life and unity of the Church. This period normally ends around Pentecost.
The RCIA is a spiritually moving process beneficial to the whole parish community. As we draw closer to the celebration of Easter, let us pray in particular for those elect who will be entering our holy Catholic Church this Easter.
OLM RCIA Coordinator : Valder Belgrave
Newcomers / Inquiry Coordinator : Susan Silveira
Catechists, team members and support volunteers : Lito Aurellado, Pinky Pascual, Jane Wangersky, Maver Siglos, Maria Lawrence, Cinderella Lai, Ming Zhang, Elvie Acosta, Sandra Patrick, Beth Aurellado, Eva Obleada, Alex Zhang, Kylie Liu, Joe and Gene Banania, Ping Li, Jane Huang, Elizabeth Fung, Vicky Mayanga, and Thelma Siglos.
For information please contact: e-mail [email protected] or call / text Susan Silveira at 778-772-9714
More RCIA of Our Lady Of Mercy Parish photos can be seen on http://olmp.org/gallery/rcia-photos/
From: [email protected], Slide Photos of RCIA, 21 April 2016 :