If you are reading this, you have begun to ponder the journey to enter or to come into the fullness of the Catholic Church. This is good news not only for you, but for this entire community of faith! Your desire to grow in relationship with Christ is not only a personal choice, but is also manifested in and through relationship with the Body of Christ, the Church, the People of God! Jesus tells us, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” [Matthew 18:20]
The RCIA is a process that can be characterized in this way: “[The RCIA] is designed for adults who, after hearing the mystery of Christ proclaimed, consciously and freely seek the living God and enter the way of faith and conversion as the Holy Spirit opens their hearts. By God’s help they will be strengthened spiritually during their preparation and at the proper time will receive the sacraments fruitfully.” [The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults: A Pastoral Commentary, J. Michael McMahon, 19.]
The RCIA Process
There are four periods that belong to this process:
- Precatechumenate—Inquiry and pondering
- Catechumenate—scripture, faith sharing, catechesis
- Purification/Enlightenment—intense spiritual preparation
- Mystagogia—celebration of the sacraments/Easter season
The Precatechumenate: a Time of Inquiry & Growth
Beginning your journey is as easy as this:
- Kindly email Nancie Chmielewski, or call (414) 545-4316 to schedule an informal meeting. You may receive information regarding joining the parish, meet pastoral staff, and share a little about yourself.
- After this initial meeting, you will be directed to Gerry Felsecker, who co-ordinates the Period of Inquiry. This period usually involves about 4 gatherings with other “Inquirers” at times that work for the group.
- Inquiry is a time for you to ask questions and to learn about Jesus, the Catholic Church and Catholicism, the Bible, the Sacraments and other questions you have about faith and God.
- At the end of this period, you will discern if you are ready to continue this journey of faith in the Catholic church. If so, you will gather with the RCIA team and the other inquirers for a relaxed event called, “Who, What, & Why.”
The Catechumenate: a time of Catechesis and Faith sharing
This step of the journey begins with the Rite of Welcome/Acceptance and ends with the Rite of Sending/Election. The catechumenate is marked by these two public rituals, which affords the community the opportunity to come to know, recognize and pray for and with you. You will now meet every Sunday at 10:00 am in Room 3, sit together for the first part of the Mass (the Liturgy of the Word) and then be dismissed back to Room 3 to process the Scriptures and continue to learn about the faith you seek. We generally meet until noon or 12:30 pm. Additionally, we ask you to be a part of the GIFT program, so as to meet the community and learn more about our faith.
The Time of Enlightenment & Purification
This period begins a short but intense time of spiritual preparation. It includes a number of rituals celebrated with the local and larger community and ends with the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday.
Mystagogy: Processing the Experience/Immersion into the Community
We meet a few times during the Easter season to “unpack” the sacrament experience and to enter more fully into the community
Ways to Help with RCIA
RCIA Inquiry Team
The Inquiry Team works with persons who are learning about possible membership in the Catholic Church. A team member shares the basics of the Catholic faith as well as invites inquirers into the faith to share their questions and understandings. The inquiry group meets weekly, usually in the evening, for about 10 sessions. Team members can be called upon whenever new inquirers come forward.
RCIA Catechumenate Team
The Catechumenate Team works with persons on Sunday mornings, sharing around the Sunday scriptures. Team members usually facilitate sessions in pairs about once a month for the greater portion of the year. They plan the session together and invite candidates’ participation. The Catechumenate Team also meets as a group about every four to six weeks to reflect on the process and continue their own formation. It is helpful if persons serve as RCIA sponsors before becoming team members.
Parish RCIA Sponsors
Any confirmed Catholic who is willing to walk with a person seeking to become a Catholic can become an RCIA sponsor. The sponsor needs to be willing to share one’s faith with another and to put the candidate’s needs before his/her own. Sponsors are not expected to be experts in the faith; rather, they are asked to be honest and open with their candidate as they continue to grow themselves. Sponsors are asked to come to most of the sessions, which usually coincide with the 10:30 am liturgy. This involves a commitment of up to one year.
Kindly email Nancie Chmielewski, or call (414) 545-4316 to get involved in any of these opportunities.