THE RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION FOR ADULTS
RCIA (the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) is the process the Catholic Church uses to help non-Catholics learn more about the Church and, if they desire it, actually become Catholic. Here at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, RCIA meets once a week with classes that help you explore the Church, her teachings, and the profound meanings behind everything we do as Catholics.
Why can’t someone just join the Catholic Church right now? And without all this RCIA stuff? Well, have you ever been in love? Have you ever seen someone in love? Have you ever wanted to be in love? Then you know love takes time. Even love at first sight.
The Catholic Church wants you to fall in love, and not just with the Church, but with God, with Christ Jesus, with the whole of His beauty and grace. The Church believes that to be Christian is to open one’s own heart toward a spousal/marital relationship with God. After all, why does God constantly refer to us as His bride and Himself as THE bridegroom (c.f. Is. 49:18; Is. 62:5; Jer. 2:2; Eph. 5; Rev. 21:9-10)?
In a way, RCIA is like dating. It is the time in which you come to know God better. You come to learn more about Him who made you. You come to fall in love with the one who loves you the most.
In RCIA, the once a week meeting is your date with God (this is the "Inquiry" phase). If the first months fair well and there is still interest, then you move to a more "exclusive" relationship which simply takes the relationship more seriously with intentionality behind it (this is the "Catechumenate" phase). Finally, you reach the stage of engagement. Like a good boyfriend (hang with me on this one girls), you ask your girlfriend's father for his blessing to marry her which corresponds to the Rite of Election where you receive the blessing of the Archbishop to become Catholic. The day finally comes where the two become one flesh which is the day you are received into the Holy Catholic Church and thus become mysteriously wedded to Christ Himself which is consummated by receiving Holy Communion.
Why can’t you just join the Catholic Church, right now, this very moment? Joining the Catholic Church is not like joining a club. It is making a commitment, just as you make a commitment to the people you love. A lover wants to love as best and wonderfully as s/he can. Don’t you want to love Him, the most Tremendous Lover, as best and wonderfully as you can?
Anyone! But there are typically three types of people who attend RCIA: the un-baptized, baptized non-Catholic Christians, and baptized Catholics who have not received the rite of Confirmation. There are always situations that we cannot anticipate, so if you do not fit these categories, contact us and we will help.
RCIA is not only for non-Catholics, but even for the most "veteran" of Catholics. Rarely do you have an opportunity to receive a systematic theological education that is free, engaging, and dynamic!
We are aways looking for leaders, who can assist with the RCIA process, and sponsors, who are willing and able to make a personal investment in one of the candidates or catechumens preparing to become Catholic. If you have an interest in participating in this year's RCIA process, please fill out the Sponsor/Leadership Information Form and someone will be in touch with you shortly to answer any questions you may have.