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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!
It has been five months now since we were able to celebrate the Eucharist together, in person.
I longingly remember the time when we greeted one another as we made our way into church. Sometimes with a simple nod, a handshake, a hug or a kiss and some friendly chatter.
I longingly remember The Basilica filled with our beloved community. I long for our grand processions; our wonderful music; the Word of God proclaimed so well by so many; the singing by the assembly unusually robust for a Catholic community.
I longingly remember joining fellow parishioners for after Mass hospitality when we commented on the homily, the choice of music, the liturgical décor, our lives and together we rejoiced in being part of our very energetic faith community.
I miss all of this and I wonder if this is coming back any time soon. Even as we gradually re-open for the celebration of the Eucharist everything is different. Our rich liturgical encounter that touched all the senses has been replaced with a highly sanitized version of what once was.
And yet, there is nothing that nourishes us Catholics more than the Eucharist and there is no better place to build up the Body or Christ, our community than in the Eucharist, even when we are limited to gather in a virtual way or in a highly sanitized physical way.
To augment the sense of community some people have set up “watch parties” to be present at the livestreamed Mass together. After Mass they sometimes stay for the traditional doughnuts and coffee, albeit in a virtual way.
The comment section on our Facebook page during the livestream of our Liturgies has proven to be a very welcome tool for people to interact and create community. Now, this electronic gift can also become a burden. Maybe we can use this tool more judiciously and hold off on commenting during certain parts of the Mass as the consecration on occasion seemed buried under the many comments.
We have also discovered that our parishioners not only miss our people, our liturgies and our ministries, they also The Basilica itself. Because we are not able to go to The Basilica we have decided to bring The Basilica to you. So we have created a new initiative called Art that Surrounds Us with weekly video vignettes about some of our most beloved works of sacred art and sacred shrines.
There is no text book that tells us exactly what to do. All of this is so new to us and things keep changing and evolving but we are doing the best we possibly can.
This is a challenging time but it is also a time to think outside the box. While taking health protocols seriously we strive to nourish the souls of our parishioners and we work hard to assure that our community stays connected through our liturgies. Never hesitate to let us know what we can do better.