Becoming Catholic

Your questions are the start of your journey home. We would be honored to answer your questions to guide you on the path to a real relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Read on if you…

  • are interested in how one becomes Catholic

  • have been attending services here but are not Catholic

  • are baptized in another Christian tradition

  • are a baptized Catholic who never had any formal religious formation and would now like to grow in your understanding of the Faith and your relationship with Jesus by celebrating Confirmation, the Eucharist, and Confession.

  • are you a Catholic who was never Confirmed

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RCIA

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults

First stage in the journey is the period of Inquiry or the Pre-Catechumenate. This part of the process is as long as it needs to be for each individual. It may last several months. During this period any questions about the faith are asked and answered. A format that covers several areas of Catholic teaching are explored. There is no pressure to continue the process.

If the inquirer decides to continue the process they are welcomed into the family of the parish by a formal rite that takes place within the community of the faithful. At this point the format of the sessions change. An inquirer that is not baptized is called a catechumen. A person baptized in another Christian faith denomination is called a candidate for full reception into the Catholic faith. Each will have a sponsor who walks with and supports them on this journey. Although the individual may decide not to continue at any time, the Church assumes a responsibility for them.

This second stage of the process is called the period of the Catechumenate. As we attend Mass as a group, the focus will be growing in our relationship with Jesus Christ as we hear scripture proclaimed at liturgy. The group is sent forth after the homily (sermon) to reflect on the readings they have just heard proclaimed. “Breaking open the Word” is looking at Catholic understanding of Scripture and how it relates to our Catholic teaching. We respond to the call of following the way of Christ. This part of the process should last one full Church year so one gains a good understanding of the rythms of the life of the Church.

The period of Purification and Enlightenment coincides with Lent, and again the format of the sessions change. Our focus is sacramental preparation and inward reflection on areas where we are in need of conversion. During all periods of the process we experience various prayer experiences and ritual which are both vital parts of the Catholic faith. Holy week is an intense time of final preparation as we follow our Lord dying but rising to new life on Easter. The Easter Vigil culminates the process of Christian Initiation as we celebrate the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist.

Mystagogy is the final part of the process where we unfold the experience of what has just happened and continues as the participants celebrate their life as fully initiated Catholics. Sessions end with the celebration of Pentecost. As a new Catholic you are also invited to remain in touch with those who accompanied you on this wonderful faith journey as we all go forth to bring the “good news” of Jesus to others.


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RCIA Director

Marcia Strausbaugh

marcia@stpatchurch.org

229-9863 x 324