Pastor's Corner

2023 10-22  It’s not too late to join our parish Rite of Christian Initiation programs.

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

Our faith community has vibrant spiritual and educational programs for those adults and children interested in becoming Catholic, and for those baptized Catholics who have not yet received the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation.  The programs are the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), and the Rite of Christian Initiation for Children (RCIC).  Those adults and children who are not Catholic are invited to learn about the Catholic faith, and they make the free choice to embrace Catholic teaching and become members of the Church.

Those in the programs participate in a thorough period of inquiry, discernment, and catechesis, led by their coordinators.  They have the opportunity to grow in the knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith.  Participants also take part in a retreat and various social gatherings and hopefully, over time, will be more fully integrated into the parish community.

As explained in the publication, Our Sunday Visitor (OSV), as previously noted, “Catholic parishes offer inquiry sessions that allow seekers to examine the Catholic faith more closely.  During these sessions, participants ask questions, explore Catholic teachings, and discover what it means to be a Catholic Christian.

These sessions are designed to offer accurate information about the Catholic Church – with no strings attached.   If participants feel the desire to become Catholic, they may move into a deeper level of faith formation that focuses on prayer, sharing, community, and reflection, called the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults.”

The steps in the RCIA process, as explained in OSV are as follows:

  • The Precatechumenate, or period of inquiry, welcomes newcomers to ask questions as they begin to learn more about the Church.
  • The Catechumenate is a time of serious formation, often with others who are inquiring about the faith.

The Period of Purification and Enlightenment, “which coincides with Lent, is a period of continued instruction coupled with more intensive preparation and prayer.  This period culminates with the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist), bringing the candidates and catechumens into the full communion of the Catholic Church, usually at the Easter Vigil.  (A candidate is a baptized Christian; a catechumen is an unbaptized candidate.)”

  • Mystagogy is the time “after the newly initiated has been fully received into the Church; it lasts from Easter to Pentecost.

All of these stages are marked by distinct liturgical rites.”

The process is similar, but more simplified, for children participating in the RCIC program.

Our parish RCIA and RCIC programs for the year have begun, but it is not too late to participate.  We expect that many in the programs will receive the appropriate sacraments at the Easter Vigil next year.  If you know of someone who may be interested in the programs, please contact our parish office or any of our clergy.


2023 10-29   All Saints Day and All Souls Day
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