What is RCIA?
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, or RCIA, is a series of classes that present an adult exploration of the Catholic faith. RCIA is a chance for people to learn the basics of what it means to be Catholic, to ask their burning questions, and to seek ways to more fully open their lives to Jesus Christ. RCIA is primarily for adults considering becoming Catholic and for Catholics who were never Confirmed. RCIA prepares men and women to make a conscious choice whether or not they want receive the sacraments of initiation offered by the Catholic Church (Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation).
Is there a ceremony or preparation for baptized Catholics who never or seldom have practiced the faith?
For Catholics who have been Baptized, Confirmed and made First Communion but then drifted from the faith, the way they return is through the Sacrament of Penance. Catholics who were baptized but never received Confirmation and/or Eucharist can participate in the RCIA process. This process is completed with the reception of the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Communion at the Easter Vigil or during the Easter Season.
What is the role of a godparent for an adult being baptized?
Godparents, also called sponsors, accompany the candidates through the RCIA process. They are called to show the candidates good example of the Christian life, sustain the candidates in moments of hesitancy and anxiety, bear witness, and guide the candidate’s progress in the baptismal life.
What is the time commitment for RCIA?
The RCIA group meets weekly for a couple of hours usually from the second week in September through the Easter Vigil and Pentecost. This is the primary time commitment, and there may be other commitments depending on what part of the process you’re going through.
Do I have to attend every session?
RCIA is a building-block process and each session builds on the one before. However, we realize that there may be situations which would cause someone to miss a session. Therefore, absences are handled on a case-by-case basis. If you must miss a session, arrangements can be made to provide you with a copy of the notes from the session.
What if I’m not sure I want to become Catholic or be Confirmed?
Not a problem! In fact, we’re assuming that this is the case. RCIA is structured in a way that invites you to make small commitments until you’re sure you want to proceed. The initial meetings are designed to answer some basic questions, and give you a feel for what the journey will be like. After the first few classes, we’ll explore the core Christian message and answer your questions. Around December, we invite you to decide if you would like to proceed.
If I’m already a Confirmed Catholic, is RCIA right for me?
Many of us stopped learning about our Catholic faith we received the Sacrament of Confirmation in our early teens. Confirmation was supposed to be the time when we chose the Catholic faith for ourselves at the “age of reason,” but many of us realize that we weren’t really aware enough to say “yes.” Often, we don’t really engage in our spiritual journey until much later in life. It’s not uncommon for us to realize as adults that we want to know more about our faith, and to wrestling with some of the more difficult questions we have. RCIA is an opportunity for you to really explore your faith. It is also a chance to see your faith through the eyes of people exploring it for the first time. Together we’ll help each other grow closer to Jesus Christ.
What is the cost for attending RCIA?
There is no cost to you to attend RCIA. St. Norbert Parish provides all that is needed for the sessions.
May I bring my spouse/fiancé to the sessions?
Yes, you may. We encourage your spouse/fiancé to attend the sessions with you.
If I have been baptized in another church, do I need to be baptized again?
In most cases, you do not need to be baptized again. The Catholic Church requires that you were baptized with water, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We will need a copy of your baptismal certificate or other proof of baptism from the church where you were baptized. Proof of baptism may include a letter from the church, a copy of the membership record indicating that you were baptized, etc.
I was told I need a sponsor who is a baptized and confirmed Catholic and is in good standing in the Catholic Church and who will attend the sessions with me. What if I don’t know anyone who could do that?
Don’t worry about it. We have people who volunteer to fulfill the sponsor role. They will attend the sessions with you.
Can a Catholic attend to learn more about their faith?
Yes, all are invited.