Have you ever wondered what the Catholic Church is all about? Are you an adult who might like to join the Catholic Church? Were you raised in the Catholic Church but for any number of reasons never followed through on confirmation? Then “Come and see!”
Through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults or RCIA, anyone—the curious, the spiritual seeker, or those wanting to be received into the Church through baptism and/or confirmation—may encounter a place to find answers to their questions. No question is too simple, silly, complex, or controversial. Everyone is welcome. RCIA members come from all faiths and backgrounds—churched and unchurched, believers and non-believers. RCIA is a place where questions and doubts are encouraged, and there is never any obligation to join the Catholic Church. The environment is warm and encouraging, with no judgement or criticism. Many find they make new and long-lasting friendships during this time.
As with so many other parts of our lives, RCIA will be different this year due to the current pandemic. Instead of meeting in person, sessions will be held online via Zoom following the 9:30am Sunday Mass, beginning October 4. Inquirers and their sponsors will meet independently by Zoom or phone call—whichever feels most natural to them. A variety of learning materials will be made available on the RCIA group page of The Basilica’s website, and we are considering Facebook pages for current and past RCIA alum that will feature additional information and resources.
Despite these changes, RCIA will still follow its traditional course, beginning with a Period of Inquiry and an overview of the Bible and basic Christian teachings. This section ends with the beautiful Rite of Welcome into the Church for those who desire it. This rite is a simple yet eloquent enactment of the Church’s welcoming nature for anyone wishing to step inside its doors.
Next comes the Period of the Catechumenate, where the sessions go deeper into Christian teaching, the Sacraments, and encounter the character of Christ through both class sessions and the Opening of the Word during Mass. During the Opening of the Word, people gather to discuss each Sunday’s Gospel readings on an intimate level, building even closer and deeper relationships with Christ and one another.
That is followed by Lent and the Period of Purification where sessions even more deeply encounter the person and character of Christ through Gospel readings and discussion. Finally, with the Triduum, all the drama and passion of the three days leading to Easter is stunningly reenacted, culminating in baptism and/or confirmation of those who desire it. But there is never any pressure to take this step. RCIA staff recognizes that the decision to do so is deeply personal, and anyone who chooses not to do so is never doubted or questioned.
Finally, the RCIA year ends with the Period of Mystagogia where everyone gathers to reflect on the year and are offered ways to match their gifts with the many ministries at The Basilica.
If you or anyone you know would be interested in attending RCIA during the coming 2020/2021 year, contact Cathy Edwards, coordinator of RCIA to learn more.
Come and see!