through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
Have you ever thought about being Catholic?
If your answer is yes chances are that God is calling you to conversion – not the conversion from one religion (or no religion) to another religion but a deeper conversion from sin and the pursuit of a wider knowledge and understanding of Him. It is a conversion that is brought about through learning the truths of faith that came down to us from the early Church Fathers, and a conversion through repentance, prayer, the Bible, tradition, liturgy, and worship.
What’s different about the Catholic Faith?
For starters, the Catholic Faith is the Christian Faith that has Christ as its founder. He established the Church and made Peter its head as the first Pope when He told him: “Thou art Peter and upon this Rock I will build My Church” (Mt 16:18). It is the only Christian religion that has as its unifying force an unbroken chain of popes who are Christ’s vicar here on earth. Because of his authority given by Christ there is an unbroken line of succession of bishops and priests.
It is a sacramental Church, the only religion whose liturgies center around the seven sacraments. Church teaching comes from the Bible (including the Old Testament) and many of its practices and liturgies come from tradition. The Mass is the center of Catholic worship where bread and wine truly become the Body and Blood of Christ through the action of the priest. The Church and its priests have the power to forgive sins. That power was given by Christ to His apostles and their successors when He said: “Whose sins you shall forgive will be forgiven, whose sins you shall retain shall be retained” (John 20: 21-23).
Some Reasons People Become Catholic
Often people become interested in the Catholic Church because of the attractive lifestyle of a Catholic who lives the faith. Many people are influenced by the joy, generosity, and helpfulness that they see in a Catholic believer. Sometimes marriage to a practicing Catholic inspires interest and when one sees the love of God and neighbor, devotion and goodness in the spouse, that person wants to be similar.
For some, attending a Catholic Mass or visiting a Catholic Church prompts feelings of a Presence not felt anywhere else. Some see people at prayer when attending a Catholic Service.
No matter the source of the attraction, it is always an invitation from God to look into the Catholic Faith.
What is RCIA?
The RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) has its origin in the early Church and was restored after the Second Vatican Council, a process of learning the teachings of Jesus, the Trinity, the Bible, Church history and teachings, liturgies, Christian principles, prayer and devotion, and a constant call to conversion, especially through the liturgical Rites that are an integral part of the RCIA process
How does one become Catholic?
The RCIA is the Church’s ordinary way of bringing adults into the Catholic Church. However, it is not the only way. RCIA formation consists of weekly group sessions in faith formation, each session lasting about 90 minutes. Some people prefer a one-on-one session for various reasons, such as an inability to attend weekly due to work schedules, or feeling too uncomfortable in group settings. The preparation time in most situations is less than one year depending on one’s Christian background.
Deacon Tom Kempf, along with trained catechists, teach and give witness to the principles, beliefs, and values of the Catholic Faith in weekly group sessions from September to Pentecost. Looking into the Catholic Church is open to people of all faiths, baptized and unbaptized, as well as to those of no faith.
Catechumens are only those people who do not know Christ through baptism. They are the unbaptized. Candidates for Full Communion are baptized Christians seeking full communion with the Catholic Church.
Catechumens and candidates in our parish usually begin their faith formation in September, with classes held weekly until Pentecost Sunday (early June of the following year). Classes, dates and times may vary according to individual needs.
All those who are interested in becoming Catholic must have a sponsor. The sponsor must be a practicing Catholic and willing to attend most of the weekly meetings. The sponsor’s job is to give support and to answer questions. The parish can provide a sponsor for those who do not have one.
The RCIA team (deacon and catechists) make a great effort to create a learning environment where the participants feel comfortable and at ease and where questions and comments are always welcome.
Participants are expected to acquire a current edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and a copy of the Revised New Amaerican Bible (RNAB). Other materials and supplies are provided free of charge. There is absolutely no pressure to become Catholic — that decision is left to the individual’s discernment as to where God is leading.
If you have questions about the RCIA or any other aspect of the Catholic Church, please feel free to contact the parish staff of St. Benedict Cathedral, 1328 Lincoln Ave., Evansville, IN 47714, firstname.lastname@example.org, (812) 425-3369.
Deacon Tom Kempf, Jr.
Director of Formation
(812) 425-3369, ext. 158
Rest assured that we are praying each day that God will help every person on earth know the path of freedom and peace, faith and hope — the path through Jesus Christ to heaven!
If God is calling you to the Catholic Church, we hope you’ll have the courage to take the first step and contact us. You’re always welcome at St. Benedict Cathedral.