Becoming Catholic (commonly known as Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults or RCIA) is the process through which adults enter into the Catholic Faith. This process is a spiritual journey and consists of various phases and rites that are designed to help a person consciously discern formal entrance into the Catholic Faith. The person’s spiritual growth is encouraged and enhanced through weekly reflection on God’s Word and Church teachings, doctrines, and traditions.
HOW DOES BECOMING CATHOLIC WORK IN OUR PARISH?
The process formally begins in September. Catechumens and Candidates are assigned a Catholic parishioner to act as their sponsor. Becoming Catholic meets on alternating Sunday mornings to explore further the teachings, doctrines, and traditions of the Catholic Faith. Those participating in Becoming Catholic have the option to attend Mass before or after the gathering, which runs from 10:50 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. Generally individuals who decide to become a full members of the Catholic Church are welcomed into the Faith at the following year’s Easter Vigil liturgy.
WHAT IS A SPONSOR?
The role of the sponsor is vital and fulfilled by Catholic parishioners. A sponsor is a mature Catholic who is willing to be a friend, witness, and guide for the inquirer. We do expect the sponsor to be more than a ceremonial sponsor for Baptism, Confirmation, or reception into the Church. Sponsors have enriched their own faith life by attending the bi-weekly sessions. Some have shared their own prayer life and introduced their inquirer to some of our Catholic parishioners, devotions, activities, and ministries of our parish life. All of this helps the potential new member become an active and vital part of the larger Catholic family.
In the Toledo Diocese, sponsors must to be at least 17 years or older, have completed their Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation), and attend Mass faithfully.
WHAT ARE THE COMPONENTS OF THE PROCESS?
Morning Gatherings: Participants in Becoming Catholic meet every other Sunday from 10:50 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. in Clare Hall.
Mass Attendance: Before or after the gathering, participants attend Mass at St. Aloysius.
Parish Retreat: Participants attend the annual Parish Retreat. The retreat is held on a Friday evening and all day on Saturday in the early part of the new year. The retreat is an excellent opportunity for participants to meet others in the parish who are growing in faith.
Rites and Scrutinies: The journey to joining the Catholic Faith involves four stages. The rites to mark passage though the stages take place during Sunday Masses.
Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation: The Elect receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist during the Easter Vigil Liturgy on Holy Saturday to be fully initiated into the Catholic Church.
ARE THERE ANY ADDITIONAL STEPS?
Some individuals may need to complete additional steps prior to becoming a Catholic such as a securing a marriage annulment or validation, or obtaining permission from certain Orthodox Christian faiths. The pastor will assist members with special circumstances.