Welcome! To learn about the RCIA process (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) please reach out to Joanne Griesbach of our Parish Staff to orientate you toward a next step. (920) 468-4811.
Are you called to be Catholic? There are lots of reasons why people choose to become Catholic as teens or adults. Maybe you are married to someone who is Catholic and are ready to explore this faith further. Maybe you have friends or relatives who were married in the Catholic Church or you attended a funeral and were moved by that experience and now want to learn more. Maybe you know or admire someone who is Catholic and you want to explore the faith more deeply.
How do I learn if the Roman Catholic Church is right for me? If you are curious about the Catholic faith, we have a special process designed to help you do that. It's called RCIA. RCIA stands for Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Joining the RCIA process at a parish does not commit you to joining the Catholic Church. It is a process to help you explore what the Catholic Church has to offer. If you choose to complete the entire RCIA process, you will become a fully initiated member of the Catholic Church.
How do I know if the RCIA process is for me?The RCIA process is designed for three groups of people:
those who were never baptized
those who were baptized in another Christian tradition (Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, and so on) who now wish to be Catholic by entering into full communion with the Catholic Church
those who were baptized Catholic but never received any education or any of the other initiation sacraments such as first communion and confirmation.
How long does it take? It's hard to say. If you haven't been baptized, or ever received any kind of religious education, it will probably take at least one year. If you are already baptized and educated in another Christian tradition, such as Lutheran or Presbyterian, it may be much shorter.
How do I get started? Contact Joanne Griesbach, Adult Faith Formation/RCIA coordinator at St. Bernard Parish By phone: 920-468-4811, ext 106 By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Four Stages in the RCIA Process
RCIA (which stands for Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) is a process of faith development and catechetical instruction that culminates in reception of the “sacraments of initiation”: Baptism (for those not already baptized), Confirmation and Eucharist. Reception of these sacraments means that one has become a full member of the Catholic community. There are four stages in the process. Everyone progresses from one stage to the next at his/her own pace. Each individual, with the help of the RCIA team, determines when he/she is ready to move to the next stage
Inquiry: In these early meetings, “Inquirers” are introduced to concepts that are foundational to the Catholic Faith. They will have an opportunity to share prayer, stories and ask questions about “Catholic things. ” Some questions may be answered easily while others may require a more drawn out process that takes place during the next steps of the process. When a person decides that he/she desires to continue learning about the Catholic faith, then she/he is assigned a sponsor and celebrates the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens or (in the case of persons who are already baptized) the Rite of Welcoming, at one of the Sunday Masses. The sponsor is another Catholic who “walks with” the RCIA participant during the process.
Catechumenate/Catechetical: With the Rite of Acceptance/Welcoming, those who have not been baptized officially become catechumens, while those who are baptized become candidates. During this period, Candidates and Catechumens attend the first part of Sunday Mass. After the homily, they are “sent forth” to meet with members of the RCIA team to reflect on and discuss the scripture readings from Mass. This is followed by an instructional session on a particular aspect of the Catholic faith. At the beginning of Lent, a person may chose to go on to the next stage or remain in the catechumenate/catechetical stage if it is deemed that more preparation is necessary or desired.
Purification and Enlightenment: At the beginning of this stage, candidates and catechumens participate in two different ceremonies. The Rite of Sending is celebrated at Mass at St. Bernard on the Sunday prior to the first Sunday of Lent . On the afternoon of the first Sunday of Lent, the Rite of Election/Call to Continuing Conversion is celebrated with the Bishop of Green Bay along with all the other candidates and catechumens in the diocese. This rite marks a major transition. Catechumens now become the Elect, and their names are inscribed in the diocese’s Book of Enrollment. Then, on the third, fourth, and fifth Sundays of Lent, those who are not baptized celebrate the Rites of Scrutiny at the Sunday Mass. Also during this period, those who are already baptized celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time. This is the time that all participants are called to deeper prayer and reflection on their call to a new life. We continue to meet on Sunday after dismissal from Mass after the homily.
Mystagogy: The Rites of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and first Eucharist) typically take place at the Easter Vigil, a special Mass on the Saturday evening before Easter. Immediately after the homily, the Liturgy of Baptism and the Rite of Confirmation are celebrated. Later in the Mass the newly Baptized and Confirmed lead the parish community to the altar and receive their first Eucharist. As full members of the Catholic Church they will now participate fully in the Mass from this point onward. The RCIA continues to meet after mass on Sunday during the Easter Season. The program now centers on topics and issues that are of particular interest to the participants. The new members of the Church are encouraged to look at the gifts God has given them and how these can be shared with their new faith community.
St. Bernard Catholic Church 2040 Hillside Lane, Green Bay, WI 54302 920-468-4811 | Email us Copyright 2018, St. Bernard Parish