What is it? The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) The Second Vatican Council prescribed the revision of the rite of Baptism of adults and decreed that the catechumenate for adults, divided into several steps, should be restored.
The Congregation for Divine Worship prepared a new rite for the Christian Initiation of Adults, which Pope Paul VI approved.
According to the Constitution on the Liturgy (art.63, b), it is within the competence of the bishops to compose for their local rituals a section corresponding to this one in the Roman ritual, adapted to the needs of their respective regions (# 30 RCIA Study edition).
Process The initiation of Catechumens is a gradual process that takes place within the Community of the Faithful (#4)
1. The first step: the enquiry period and reaching initial conversion and wishing to become Christians. 2. The second step: progression to the completion of the catechumenate and acceptance into intense preparation for the sacraments of initiation. 3. The third step: reception of the sacraments of initiation. 4. The fourth step: a time for deepening the Christian experience, for spiritual growth and for entering fully into the life of the community.
Christians desiring full communion with the Catholic Church are offered a similar preparation requiring a considerable time. A programme suited to their needs and contact with the faith community and participation in certain liturgical rites are needed in order to strengthen their Christian life. The Catechesis corresponds to the one laid down for catechumens taking into account their special status because they are baptised.
Making enquiries Contact the Catholic priest of your area or ask a Catholic to introduce you to the priest.
How long does the process take? For as long as you require or for as long as the priest and community discerns that you need in order to understand and commit yourself to a way of life according to the beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church.
Diocesan Structure for RCIA support to Parishes The RCIA Forum was formally established by Bishop G. Hanna on 19 November 2004.
Nature The diocesan Forum is a network of parishioners and pastors united with the bishop to share a diocesan vision and practice of the RCIA process.
Purpose To further the implementation of the rite of the Church catering for the needs of catechumens and candidates in the parishes of the Diocese of Wagga Wagga.
Theological Foundations The purpose of the Forum is based on: • God’s gracious initiative and invitation to response. • The paschal mystery of the death and resurrection in Jesus Christ. • The prophetic power in word and sacrament. • The shared life and wisdom of the people of God, graced and sinful. • Listening to the voice of the poor and oppressed. • Conversion to the freedom of disciples. • Working for justice and peace in the world while beginning local.
Formation principles In order to remain faithful to the vision of the RCIA the Forum adheres to these principles: • The Catholic community members witness to their faith and offer inviations to acquaintances who desire to make enquiries about becoming a member of the Church. • Initiation begins with evangelisation leading to conversion of heart. • Catechesis, community, liturgy and mission are formative. • All cultural gifts and life experiences are respected. • The methods of theological reflection are pastoral. • The processes of adult learning are normative (see twelve principles).
Organisational Traits Forum’s operations, behaviours, attitudes and actions exhibit these traits: • Trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit. • Trust in and respect for the gifts of each person encountered by Forum. • Clarity in direction and advice offered to parishes with difficulties. • Collaboration with other dioceses, bodies or consultants who can contribute insights for the good of Forum members and/or parishioners. • Quality of resources offered to parishes or the diocesan assemblies as appropriate to the Rite.
Current members of Forum: Mrs Mary McPhee, Facilitator Ph (02) 6953 4264, Rev A Schipp, Rev M Cruickshank, Mrs Helen Smith, Mr Peter Skinner, Mrs K Gestier and Mrs W Murphy, Resources, Sister Margaret Knagge, secretarial support.
Catholic Adult Faith Exploration • Non-award Courses at Vianney College • Parish-based Courses • Lenten and Advent Small Groups