The RCIA is the process for welcoming and initiating new members into the Catholic faith community. It is a spiritual journey for adults and has its roots in the very beginning of the church where it was an integral part of the early Christian tradition. Persons who were seeking admission into the church learned what it meant to follow Jesus through the example and the teachings of the Christian community.
The process is open to all persons, regardless of religious background or philosophical persuasion, who genuinely seek, by God’s grace, to live their lives in the distinctive Catholic Christian faith. RCIA welcomes people who have never been baptized as well as people who were baptized in another Christian tradition and now wish to become Roman Catholic. Sometimes people who were baptized in the Catholic Church in infancy but did not grow up in the practice of the faith also participate in RCIA. Adults who were baptized into the Catholic Church, have celebrated First Eucharist and First Reconciliation, but were never confirmed, may also participate.
The Second Vatican Council for the Latin Church called it “the catechumenate for adults, comprising several distinct steps”. The rites for these steps are to be found in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), which are weekly courses from September through until Pentecost Sunday, culminating with the acceptance of the Catechumens/Candidates at the Easter Vigil. In Catholic Community there are three intermediate rites, the Rite of Welcome/the Rite of Acceptance, the Rite of Sending and the Rite of Election. It is also a great opportunity for Catholics to learn more about their faith.
At the Easter Vigil, all who are ready to commit are accepted into the Catholic Church with Baptism (if the Catechumens has not been previously baptized), Confirmation (for all Candidates and Catechumens) and Eucharist, again for all.
The RCIA process is coordinated by a team of lay people along with the parish priest and Director of Religious Education. This team helps to coordinate, plan, implement the RCIA process at St. Anthony. Parishioners also served as godparents/sponsors for catechumens/candidates in the RCIA process.