> What is RCIA
WHAT IS R.C.I.A.?
To understand the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) process, we first must understand that each person’s journey of faith is unique. How we grow to know God and practice religion are dependant on many factors. We are born at a specific time into a specific culture with parents who give us certain attitudes. As we grow older we develop a unique response including how we practice religion. Some of us through personal searching choose to change to a different religious expression. The RCIA is directed to those who are searching and inquiring about the Catholic way of life. Only through the witness of Catholics and the sharing of their faith experience can those who are searching come to understand what Catholicism means.
The RCIA is a process filled with rites, ceremonies and celebrations. Each phase of the process is ritually celebrated with special prayers and liturgical ceremony in the presence of the worshiping community.
The RCIA is not a new concept in the church. Actually, it is the method by which people came into the Church in the first several centuries. But, as the Church expanded and infant baptism became more common, the formation process for adults was abbreviated. A person who entered the church received minimal individual instruction and formation. Head knowledge rather than spiritual formation was emphasized.
The Vatican II Council Fathers decided that the ancient manner of initiating adults provided deeper formation and a more authentic understanding of the conversion process and one of the most significant renewals made by Vatican II began. Pope Paul VI promulgated the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults in 1972. A provisional text was issued in 1974. Our American Bishops mandated that all parishes in the U.S. use the RCIA process for new members coming into the church in 1988 but St. Theresa began the process before that time with a Irish translation of the rite.
The Bishops understood that the Church is the People of God who journey through life bonded in a community of faith. Through sharing and praying together, both Catholics and Inquirers find a way to live out their faith lives. The RCIA experience follows the flow of the liturgical seasons through a lectionary-based approach.