What is RCIA?:
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is a restoration of an ancient process for
incorporating unbaptized persons into Jesus Christ through the sacraments of
Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. The process was restored after the
Second Vatican Council, but did not become widely available in the United States
until late in the 1980s. The local Catholic archbishop determines how RCIA will be
administered in the parishes under his care.
Who needs to attend RCIA?:
People who have not received the sacrament of Baptism must attend RCIA for
an extended period — ideally, a year, and preferably longer. The length of the
process depends greatly on your readiness for the reception of Baptism,
Confirmation, and Eucharist.
I’m already baptized in another denomination. Do I need to attend RCIA?:
That depends. The Catholic Church doesn’t rebaptize people who are already
baptized. If you are baptized but never received any instruction in the faith, you
should receive instruction now and finish any sacraments you didn’t complete.
We strongly recommend RCIA, even if you have been well instructed in another
faith tradition, since you will need to learn how the beliefs and practices you grew
up with differ from the beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church.
If you are a baptized and confirmed Catholic returning to the practice of the faith,
you should talk to the RCIA Coordinator about how to proceed. We recommend
that Catholics who have been away from the Church for many years (say, 10 or
more) go through RCIA for the instruction.
I think I was baptized, but am not sure. What kind of information do I need
to join RCIA?
If your church or congregation kept records, you’ll need to obtain a copy of your
baptismal record — a certificate or a letter from the pastor there. Because
locating records can be difficult or time-consuming, you should try to obtain these
records as early in the process as possible. We must see these records to
confirm your baptismal status before you’re received into the Church.
If your church or congregation did
keep records or no longer exists, we can
make other arrangements. Please contact the RCIA coordinator for help.
I’ve been divorced but am not remarried. Can I become Catholic?
Certainly. Unless you plan to marry, you do not need to obtain an annulment.
I’ve been divorced and am remarried, and my spouse is divorced and
remarried. Can I become Catholic?
You and your current spouse need to begin the annulment process, and you
should begin it as soon as possible
even if your spouse is not considering entry
into the Church
. Please contact Janet Guensche, Pastoral Associate, at (313) 647-5015 for information on how to proceed. Of course, you may attend RCIA instructions while the annulment process is ongoing. But reception into the Church has to wait until the annulment process has been completed.
What’s the cutoff date for joining RCIA?
Currently, RCIA starts the first Tueday after Labor Day, and runs through the
weekend of Pentecost (about 10 months later). Unbaptized persons who have
had no previous religious instruction should join as early as possible, and are
encouraged to take more than the 10-month period. If such people join late, they
may be asked to wait until Easter of the following year.
For other people, the “cutoff date” depends on your faith level and readiness to
receive the sacraments. Please talk to the RCIA coordinator.
When do you meet?
RCIA at St. Clare of Montefalco meets on Tuesday evenings and some Sunday mornings. As a general practice, we attend the beginning of the 11:00 a.m. Mass together, and then are dismissed immediately after the homily.
How long do sessions last?
Sessions usually last about 2 hours on Wednesday evenings.
How long does RCIA last?
Inquiry sessions (also known as Pre-Catechumenate) take place all year long
Inquiry is designed to help you decide whether you want to continue, since RCIA
is a serious commitment. For information on meeting times and dates, consult
the parish bulletin or parish web site.
RCIA proper begins at St. Clare of Montefalco Parish in early September and meets weekly until Pentecost Sunday, about six weeks after Easter. Please note that Baptism and reception into the Church occur at Easter,
but RCIA does not end until Pentecost
The Neophyte year is a “soak-in” period for new Catholics. Sessions meet
monthly for a complete year after your reception into the Church. This is a time
for you to consolidate what you have learned, and to explore more about life in
the Catholic Church. All new Catholics who complete RCIA are urged to attend
Neophyte year sessions.
My schedule doesn’t permit me to attend your sessions. What should I do?
There are a couple of options. We may be able to arrange catechesis in a private
setting with a qualified parishioner/catechist. Also, other parishes meet at different times,and you may prefer to attend RCIA one of them. We can provide information on
when and where other parishes in the area offer instruction.
I heard I need a sponsor in order to become Catholic. What is that, and how
do I get one?
A sponsor is a practicing Catholic in good standing with the Church who
accompanies you on your journey through RCIA. The sponsor has the job of
helping you through the process, and of verifying at the main rites that you are
ready to take the next step. For baptism, the sponsor is called a "godparent," with
more serious responsibilities toward the catechumen being sponsored.
At St. Clare of Montefalco Parish, sponsors are expected to attend half of the sessions with the candidate they are sponsoring. If you know someone who meets these criteria,
you can simply ask them to sponsor you. If you don’t know anyone, the parish
will provide a sponsor for you.
I know who I want my sponsor to be, but that person doesn’t live locally
and can’t attend sessions. Can that person still be my sponsor?
Yes. However, we will provide someone locally to represent that sponsor,
accompany you on an ongoing basis and instructions and the rites with you. At
the Easter Vigil, the sponsor you prefer will then stand in the local person’s place
as your official sponsor.
How old should a person be to attend RCIA?
Technically, old enough to understand what is being taught. For children of
catechetical age (ages seven to 14), we can provide catechists for their grade
level. Depending on their level of maturity and interests, older teens (age 15 or
above) would join the adult group
What texts do you use and how do I get them?
We use the Scriptures and the
Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
If you have a Bible of your own, please bring it. We would like you to own a
Catholic edition of Scripture, so we will provide it. We provide other materials — a syllabus of subjects covered, handouts, and occasionally printed materials, as well. We also provide a notebook for you to put handouts into.