Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
RCIA is a faith journey for those seeking full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. This includes adults who are not baptized, those baptized in another faith tradition, Catholics who have not completed their initiation Sacraments, and children age 7 and above who have not been baptized.
We also welcome all Catholics who wish to deepen their understanding of our Church or and want to share their experiences with those making this journey. Many of our parishioners volunteer on our RCIA team and serve as sponsors for our Candidates and Catechumens who will enter the Church during the Easter Vigil.
We meet in the Gathering Room from 7-8:30 p.m. on Mondays, from September through Pentecost, with a few exceptions during holidays.
Our mission leads us to the great Easter Vigil, during which our Church each year welcomes new Catholics into our faith community as we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord - the pinnacle of our faith and Liturgical Year.
Our formation sessions include lessons and presentations on a variety of topics, from faith and prayer through sacraments, incarnation and the resurrection of our Lord. The sessions are designed to encourage discussion, to answer questions and to explore our faith and traditions as we grow closer to Jesus and discern his call for each of us. Our sessions typically conclude with reflection and conversation about the Scripture readings for the following Sunday.
We begin with several inquiry sessions that allow participants to learn and to ask questions as they discern whether they feel called to continue in the program at the time.
The formation program costs nothing but your time, you heart and your devotion.
Who does RCIA serve?
- Anyone who has never been baptized
- Those baptized in another Christian denomination
- Those baptized as Catholics who never competed the Sacraments of Initiation – Confirmation and/or Eucharist.
- Those who have reached the age of 7 and have not yet been baptized. These young people will join adults in baptism, communion and confirmation at the Easter Vigil.
The Faith Journey:
The Rite of Initiation of Adults proceeds along the following steps leading to full communion with the Roman Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil:
Inquiry or Pre-Catechumenate – This is a time to explore, to ask questions and to become acquainted with the Catholic faith and with each other as you discern God’s presence and call in your life.
Rite of Acceptance/Welcoming – At this step, the candidates examine their hearts and choose whether to continue this faith journey, or perhaps to pause and try another time. There is no pressure on anyone to do anything other than what he or she feels called to do; nor is there any judgment.
Catechumenate – Formation continues with more Catechesis and teaching about the Church, its beliefs and practices, and what is means to be a Catholic Christian.
We come to know our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, more intimately, and examine our lives as disciples.
Rite of Sending/Election – You are sent forth by our Espiritu Santo faith community to meet the bishop at the Cathedral of St. Jude in St. Petersburg. God has called us to relationship, and we respond as his elect.
Purification and Enlightenment – This time includes examination and focus on where you are and how you live your life. It is a period of reflection and purification that coincides with the Lenten season. The Elect are working to remove impediments in the relationships with God and others.
Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation - Baptism, Holy Eucharist and Confirmation - the Rites of Initiation - are conferred at the Easter Vigil Mass.
Mystagogy - The is an important period from Initiation to Pentecost, the Easter season, to deepen your Christian experience, for spiritual growth and to explore what it means to be an active Catholic. As a neophyte, you are introduced more fully into the life and unity of the faith community and the call to various ministries. The journey of faith continues as we are called to live our baptismal promise as disciples and the hands and feet of Christ.
Terms you will hear:
- Inquirer - RCIA participants prior to the Rite of Acceptance
- Catechumen – After the Rite of Acceptance, those who have not been baptized.
- Candidate - After the Rite of Acceptance, those who were baptized in another Christian tradition or baptized Catholic and are not confirmed.
- Neophyte – Catholics newly initiated at Easter.
Prior to the Rite of Acceptance, you must select a sponsor to accompany you on this journey. He or she will be your guide and role model in living the Catholic faith must be a confirmed and practicing Catholic. They are encouraged to attend our catechetical sessions and all Rites mentioned above. They do not have to be a member of Espiritu Santo Parish. If necessary, the RCIA Team happily will assist you in finding a sponsor.
|Volunteer Positions||Catechists and Assistants|
|Required of Volunteer||To instruct and to facilitate faith sharing.|
|Experience Necessary||No, but a background in education and a firm understanding of the Catholic Religion and experience in faith sharing is helpful.|
|Training Required||Workshops provided on a national and diocesan level.|
|When is Training||Different times of the year.|
|Time Commitment||Class preparation time and regular meeting times; special events such as Rite of Acceptance, Rite of Election, and a Retreat.|
|Required of the Volunteer||Practicing Catholic.|
|Training Required||Two 1-hour classes.|
|When is training||Scheduled as needed.|
|Time Commitment||Sponsors attend all meetings with RCIA candidate; they also attend the rites.|