Teaching and Learning our Faith

  What is “RCIA”?

                                RCIA [Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults]. 

Since the mid 80’s, the Church has rethought its approach towards those wishing to become Catholic or those who were baptized as Catholic, but never received any formation in the Faith. This is when RCIA was developed by the American bishops. It is characterized by the following:

There is a standardized curriculum that must be followed. The curriculum is based on the Sacred Scriptures, Documents of the Church and the New Catholic Catechism.
Every parish is required to provide a RCIA Program and if possible assemble a qualified RCIA Team.

The RCIA program emphasizes the importance and place which the people of the Parish have in nurturing the formation of the Catechumens [non-baptized] & Candidates [previously baptized]. This often takes place at Sunday Mass, but especially during Holy Week/ the Triduum.

Unless, there is a serious reason, the Catechumens are received into the Faith at the Easter Vigil. The Candidates can be received into the Church during any time of the year, but preferably during Lent, Holy Week or before Pentecost.

Presuming that the Program begins in mid-September and concludes on Easter, RCIA is a nine-month process. Catechumens & Candidates meet weekly for one hour.

The above is a general characterization of RCIA. It is intended to give those unfamiliar with this wonderful program a sense of what it is about. There are a number of particulars, not mentioned here, but which are included within the Program which address specific situations.  

Over 40+ years, this approach to catechesis has proven to be extremely successful, largely because of RCIA’s communal aspect. The Catechumens & Candidates experience the parish community’s interest in them; they experience how their parish invests itself in their spiritual journey; and finally, their journey is not anonymous. They share this journey with men & women who are on the same journey; they also benefit from the support of the Parish RCIA Team, brothers& sisters who are excited for them and committed to them.

One should not worry of what they know or don’t know; whether they had received any formation in Christianity or another religious tradition. Everyone starts off at the same level.

It is important that those contemplating becoming a Catholic pray about it and not hesitate to ask questions. There are no foolish or silly questions. We want the candidate to be as comfortable in making their decision as possible. They are encouraged to contact Fr. Walter Benn at the Parish Office [610] 749-2684 / saintlawrence@verizon.net with any concerns which they might have. This is especially important if the Candidate has been previously married and remarried. It is rare that these circumstances can not be resolved, but they do require time. Consequently, the sooner Fr. Benn is aware of them, the sooner he help resolve them.

Saint Lawrence Roman Catholic Church