I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!
You are received into the full communion of the Catholic Church!
Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit! (Confirmation)
The Body of Christ and the Blood of Christ, the completion of God's initiation of the person into His Church.
St. Joseph Church is blessed with a wonderful Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) team and ministry. We have an on-going inquiry phase that begins meeting after the "Rite of Welcome" in November and continues through the summer months. The current group will begin THE more formal inquiry phase beginning next Thursday.
I always find it exciting to work with our inquirers and see them progress in the grace of conversion that God makes possible for them through His Church.
The RCIA makes the grace of God's call to individuals to be members of his Church public and visible. Once the inquirers are welcomed as catechumens, we dismiss them after the homily at each Sunday Mass. We also celebrate all the other milestones of the RCIA process at Sunday Mass.
For those who have been "unofficial" inquirers, meaning they are connected to the Catholic Church through a spouse or a friend and have been attending for a lengthy period of time, I meet personally with them. If they have a strong Christian background and have been worshiping with us for years, there is no need for them to go through what non-baptized inquirers do. It might only take a few private meetings with me and we receive them into the Church at a Sunday Mass.
But other Christians who come to us, although they are strong in their denominational formation and belief, benefit from the RCIA and the amount of time it takes. It helps them to breathe Catholic air. For these Christians we use the "combined rites" for the RCIA, always making distinctions between those who are "baptized" and thus called "candidates" and those who are not baptized who are called "catechumens" once they have made that liturgical step out of the inquiry stage.
How has the RCIA process in your parish assisted you in your own faith? Have you chosen to be a part of an RCIA team or to be a sponsor? The best thing from my perspective about the RCIA is that it involves more people in assisting inquirers to experience God's grace of conversion. It's not just the priest and the person, but many people including the priest. What are your thoughts?