Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults

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R.C.I.A. or Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults is a process for people who would like to know more about the Roman Catholic faith. Those who would like to receive the Sacraments of Initiation, that is, Baptism, Confirmation and Communion. It is also for those who desire to be received in full communion to the Catholic Church or who would like to convert to the Catholic Church.

Are you interested in learning more about Catholicism? Do you have friends or acquaintances who are questioning what Catholicism is all about? Do you have Catholic family members or friends who have fallen away from the Faith? Invite them to investigate the truth about Catholicism by joining the RCIA group here at St. Juliana. Our group meets once a week for the length of the school year, beginning in late august. Practicing Catholics are encouraged to join as well – you are guaranteed to learn things about the Church you never knew! The program is open for adults 18 and over.

What is RCIA?

RCIA stands for Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults; it is a program designed to help non-Catholics and non-practicing Catholics learn more about Catholicism through a series of classes, discussions, prayer times and ceremonies. This program helps people grow in faith and knowledge of God as they consider becoming Catholic. There is no obligation to join the Catholic Church.

This includes three groups:

  • Inquirers - those who want to know more about the Catholic Church.
  • Candidates – individuals who have been baptized by any Christian Church (including Roman Catholics) but have not been confirmed. Roman Catholics who have been baptized but have for some reason been away from the Catholic Church for a long time can benefit from this process.
  • Catechumens - Catechumens are people who have never been baptized by any Christian Church.

St. Juliana’s RCIA program is open to anyone who is interested in learning more about the Catholic Faith. If you are not yet sure whether you want to become Catholic, you are still welcome to participate as you make your decision.

People from all sorts of religious backgrounds join the RCIA. Some have been baptized in another Christian religion and some have not. Some have been practicing members of a Christian religion for years and some have had little or no religious instruction or support. Some are already Catholic but are seeking a greater understanding of our Faith.

The RCIA is a mix of praying, learning facts, discussing how these apply to our lives, participating in prayerful ceremonies (called “rites”) and most importantly, using all of these experiences to build and grow in a relationship with God. The whole learning process is based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Bible and the teachings of the Catholic Church.

What is the process and when are the classes?

Beginning in September we meet every Tuesday night from 7-9 pm. Everything is presented according to Christ’s revelation as handed down to us in the written form of Sacred Scripture and the oral form of Sacred Tradition. Both Scripture and Tradition come to us through Christ’s appointed Teacher for all time: the Church. This complete teaching of Scripture, Tradition and the Church is called the Deposit of Faith. All this is summarized in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Tuesday night meetings include a presentation and discussion, questions and answers concerning different aspects of the Deposit of Faith. We use the Bible and the catechism as our guides through Catholic Church Teaching.

Beginning in November we start discussing the Rites and Scrutinies, these ceremonies help the group to experience within the parish community various aspects of the classes, such as the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, being sent to the Bishop, signing of the book of the elect. We also have a tour of the Church to understand more the sacred space where we meet to celebrate the Eucharist with the parish family, and a “dry Mass” during which the priest explains step by step the celebration of the Mass.

We participate in a ceremony, called the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion, a prayer service that the Bishop celebrates with us at the Cathedral. All the people preparing to become Catholic at other parishes in the Palm Beach Diocese join us for this prayer service, which takes place in February.

Those who have not ever been baptized (“the Elect”) enter the Catholic Church by receiving the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist. They celebrate the sacrament of Confession (Reconciliation) about a month or two after Easter.

Those who already baptized celebrate their first Confession shortly before Easter. Those candidates baptized in another Christian Church become Catholics during the Easter Vigil by making the Profession of Faith and receiving Confirmation and Eucharist. Those candidates who are already baptized complete their initiation into the church by receiving Confirmation, and, if needed, their First Communion.

Those who are not ready to commit to becoming Catholic continue to be inquirers and are welcome to come the following year if they so desire.

After Easter we continue to meet on Tuesday nights for about four weeks. We continue to learn about our Faith as we grow in the experience of the sacraments.

Who teaches the class?

Helen Holesha who is the Director of RCIA and usually makes the presentations each week, assisted by the RCIA team composed of people from the parish who have already been through the RCIA process.

Our Pastor, Rev. Ducasse François, also joins us actively in making presentations. We also have “guest presenters” from time to time, other parish priests, seminarians, deacons, or members of the parish.

What is taught in RCIA?

The teaching presented here at St. Juliana is authentic and official Catholic Church Teaching, the True Deposit of Faith. It has been handed down to us from Christ in both oral and written form, and, for centuries, has been guarded by the Church. We do not teach opinion.

Will I need a Sponsor?

Yes. The Sponsor or godparent is a very important person in this process. So important that the person you choose must commit to join you in a lot of the program. It is also a person that meets the following requisites:

  • Be 16 years or older
  • Must have received the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist
  • If a married person, must be married by the Catholic Church
  • Persons who are divorced and remarried outside the Church, civilly married, or living together are not allowed to be sponsors
  • Sponsors must model Christian life>
  • Sponsors must be able to receive Holy Communion when accompanying the elect or candidate
  • Sponsors are to be chosen by early November when the first rite is celebrated. The sponsor should attend all the rites of the program as well as the following classes:
    • Sacraments in general
    • The Creed
    • Tour of the church
    • Dry Mass
    • Stations of the Cross
    • Rites and symbols of the Easter Vigil
    • Rehearsal and Confession day

If the candidate cannot find an appropriate sponsor, we can provide one for them.

How do I begin?

Simple. Call Helen Holesha at 561-833-1278 She is the Director of RCIA and will help you get started. You may also stop by Conference Room on Sundays after masses starting September 2, 2016 and register in person.

I've been baptized in another religion. Will I be re-baptized?

No. If your have been baptized in water with a formula considered valid in the Catholic Church (“I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”), you will enter the Catholic Church by making a “Profession of Faith”.

I'm divorced. How does this affect me joining the Church?

Everyone's situation is different, but you will most likely need to begin the annulment process. If you are remarried you will need to wait until the process is completed in order to become Catholic. Rev. Michael Cairnes will be with us the first weeks helping with the interviews and pinpointing the potential problems and offering solutions to them.

When can I become Catholic?

Generally a person will join the RCIA during the Summer / early Fall of one year and become Catholic at Easter time the next year. Once in a while this time frame changes according to the needs of the person.

What if I go through the RCIA and choose not to become Catholic?

That's your decision and you will not be pressured to become Catholic. Some people learn about Catholicism for a few years before deciding to become Catholic and some never choose to do so. Regardless of your decision, you will be welcome here at St. Juliana.

Will becoming Catholic really affect my everyday life?

Completely! For the better. When we give God control over our lives He takes it and brings us joy like we’ve never known!

Couldn’t find the answer?

Jackie Moyeno at 561-833-1278
She is the Director of RCIA and will help you get started.