This process includes 4 stages:
RCIA is a process rather than a program, it is a spiritual journey that focuses on faith. The process focuses on faith development and on maturing in one’s relationship with God.
The first phase of the faith Journey gives the inquirers the opportunity to form relationships with each other and with their catechist. The sessions are informal and often center on the life stories that have brought each member to this time and place. Questions such as “What is Faith?” “Who is God?” “Why does God care about me?”
The Rite of acceptance marks the first transition in ones journey of faith - move from being an inquirer to one preparing for full membership in The Catholic Church. They publicly state their wish to continue the process of formation, and the community commits it’s prayerful support to this second step in this faith Journey. Selected members of the parish community join the process as sponsors. They act as companions and models of faith lending their personal support to the candidate.
This is an integral part of the RCIA process for an inquirer needs to recognize their readiness to progress on this journey of faith. They do not make this determination on their own but rather with the help of the catechists, their community sponsors and the prayerful support of the parish community.
The rites once celebrated do not mark the end of the RCIA process but rather the beginning of a commitment to a lifelong discovery and living out of the Christian message as lived in the Catholic Tradition. The fifty days from Easter to Pentecost are called the period of Mystagogy, a Greek word meaning entering into the Mysteries. It serves as a time that the neophytes (newly converted) to come to a deeper experiential understanding of God’s word and the Sacraments to form a closer relationship with God and one another.
The RCIA process (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) is offered for adults over the age of 18 who are invited to explore their journey of faith, the sacramental and pastoral life of the Church, and to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ as they prepare to become a member of the Catholic Church or who are preparing to complete their initiation by preparing for the sacraments of First Eucharist and/or Confirmation.
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