Welcoming Jesus

Bishop Boyea calls all of the lay faithful to go forth as witnesses for Christ, and to welcome back our brothers and sisters who are no longer active in our parish communities

Do you know someone who has expressed an interest in the Catholic faith?

If you, or anyone you know, are interested in learning about the Catholic faith, the RCIA is where it all happens. The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults was instituted following the Second Vatican Council as the process through which non-baptized persons and baptized Christians of other denominations enter the Catholic Church.

In most RCIA programs each year, there are also Baptized Catholics who never made their First Communion or attended church as a child. They, too, are welcomed into the RCIA process to journey to fullness of faith by completing the Sacraments of Christian Initiation.

Who can serve?

This process begins with a period of inquiry (the initial question-asking and faith-sharing phase), which moves into the catechumenate phase. This second phase provides formation in the teaching, spirituality and life of the Church and gives prospective members an opportunity to explore in greater depth the beauty of our Catholic traditions, teachings and liturgical life.

The RCIA is not just another name for the instruction classes that were offered 20 years ago; it is a disciple-making process through which participants begin to conform their lives to Christ and his Church. Catechesis (instruction in the faith) is an important element of the process since it facilitates the intellectual conversion of potential members. However, the RCIA is about much more than “head knowledge;” it is about developing an intimate relationship with our God who loved us into being.

The RCIA is about discernment and conversion, with an essentially twofold goal: to develop (or deepen) one’s relationship with Jesus Christ, and to experience Christ as he is present to us in prayer, in the Sacraments, in the teaching of his Church, and in the community of believers.

The four-stage RCIA process contains within it the following elements:

  • proclaiming the Gospel;
  • handing on or “echoing” the tradition of the Church (catechesis);
  • sharing in the liturgical worship of the community;
  • experiencing private and communal prayer; and
  • building faith-based relationships with sponsors and others in the parish.

The RCIA process provides spiritual renewal for the entire parish as well as for those seeking to join the Church. Likewise, the process belongs to the parish, not to the director or the team, since it is the parish that provides the experience of lived and shared faith. To find out more about the RCIA process at St. Robert Bellarmine Parish, email Debbie Thiede at dsthiede@parishmail.com or call 659-2501.

When does St. Robert’s RCIA meet?

The RCIA meets on Thursday evenings from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in Father Jacob’s Library (lower level Angel Hall.) Second shifters who can’t make evening sessions can talk with Debbie Thiede, RCIA Director, about other possible arrangements.

Summer inquiry sessions are scheduled on an as-needed basis. To find out about summer dates and times or to schedule an appointment with our Adult Formation Director, call the parish office at 659-2501 or email dsthiede@parishmail.com.

“This process has made such a difference in our lives in so many ways. It truly was a blessing! Not only did it bring us together as husband and wife, but also as a family. For me it is so nice to go to Mass now and have Mark there with me and be able to participate together as a family with the boys.

Every night at dinner we say grace and make sure on a daily basis to give thanks for all we have. Those are things we never did before. It has changed our life with family and friends and we have found graces in things we never did before. I truly feel even more blessed than before to have gone through this whole process.”

Nicole Seymour was Confirmed at the 2008 Easter Vigil. Her husband, Mark, was Baptized and received all the Sacraments of Initiation at the 2008 Easter Vigil.

Where did the RCIA process come from?

In the context of the Church’s 2000-year history, the RCIA process is very young. Born out of the renewals of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), the RCIA was designed as a disciple-making process. Though it may be in its infancy, the roots of the RCIA reach back into the early centuries when the catechumenate was an important part of initiation into the Christian community.

In 1988, a little more than 20 years ago, the Catholic Bishops of the United States directed that all adults entering the Church should follow the process set forth in the Adult Rite of Christian Initiation.

A main feature of the Rite is its emphasis on the connection between the three sacraments of Christian initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist (Holy Communion). The usual time for reception into the Church is at the Easter Vigil, the evening before Easter Sunday, but adults can be received into the Church at other times as well.

When adults are received into the Church, they will receive all the sacraments needed at the same liturgy (public celebration of faith). Adults already baptized in another faith tradition are not “rebaptized,” but instead make a profession of faith then are Confirmed and make their First Communion.

FAQ’s

How long does it take to become Catholic? As stated earlier, the RCIA is a process, not a program. It is the means by which the Church ministers to those considering membership. The Church recognizes that some people will need more time than others to prepare for the lifetime commitment that comes with initiation into the Catholic Faith.

Also, prior marriages and the necessity of seeking annulments may at times slow down a person’s sacramental reception into the Church. The usual length of preparation, however, is about one year. In most cases, initiation takes place at the Easter Vigil.

 

“This process has made such a difference in our lives in so many ways. It truly was a blessing! Not only did it bring us together as husband and wife, but also as a family. For me it is so nice to go to Mass now and have Mark there with me and be able to participate together as a family with the boys.

Every night at dinner we say grace and make sure on a daily basis to give thanks for all we have. Those are things we never did before. It has changed our life with family and friends and we have found graces in things we never did before. I truly feel even more blessed than before to have gone through this whole process.”

Nicole Seymour was Confirmed at the 2008 Easter Vigil. Her husband, Mark, was Baptized and received all the Sacraments of Initiation at the 2008 Easter Vigil.

When and how can I begin the RCIA?

Anyone interested in inquiring into the faith can call the parish office and ask to speak to Debbie Thiede, St. Robert Adult Formation Director (810-659-2501). Entrance into the RCIA process is as individual as each person who inquires.

Some may come from another Christian denomination with an extensive knowledge of Catholic tradition and belief, while others may have little knowledge or experience of Christian thought and practice. How long the process takes depends upon the unique background of each person. Together, the RCIA director and the inquirer will assess the individual’s readiness to move to the next stage of the process.

Who is the RCIA for?

  • A non-baptized person wanting to become Catholic
  • A baptized Christian who desires joining the Catholic Church
  • A baptized Catholic who has not celebrated any other Sacraments

The Reception of children into the Church at St. Robert Parish

If you have a child of catechetical age (7 or older) that you want baptized, or one who was baptized in another Christian denomination but desires to receive Holy Communion, or if your child has already been baptized in the Catholic Church but has not celebrated any other sacraments, please call 810-659-8556 and ask for Elaine Baur, RCIC coordinator, to get started. (The RCIC is the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults adapted for children.)

The RCIC process is designed around a Montessori-based program called the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, which allows children to grasp the truth of the Gospel message in an atmostphere of reflection and self-expression. This remarkable catechetical program is in its fourth year of implementation at St. Robert Parish, and is beloved by students and catechists (teachers) alik

The Catechesis focuses on the liturgy of the Mass in all its theological richness; when presented in a hands-on, accessible way, its theological depth is not lost on young children, but instead fosters comprehension and deep theological insight. The RCIC, using the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, will introduce your child to the Catholic Church: its worship, prayer, community life, and service.

**For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Debbie Thiede
at 810-659-2501 or dsthiede@parishmail.com.

May God bless you!