Baptism Preparation for Adults (RCIA)
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
Welcome to The Basilica of Saint Mary Catholic Community! We’re glad that you’re here and we want to answer your questions.
For adults today, the Church, after the Second Vatican Council, has restored the order of the Catechumenate in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). It outlines the steps for the formation of catechumens (unbaptized), bringing their conversion to the faith to a greater maturity. It helps them respond more deeply to God’s gracious initiative in their lives and prepares them for union with the Church community. This process is meant to form them into the fullness of the Christian life and to become disciples of Jesus, their teacher. This includes an initiation into the mystery of salvation, the practice of faith, hope, and love, and other virtues in a succession of liturgical rites.
Persons baptized into another Christian church and now seeking full communion with the Catholic Church are also welcomed to participate along with catechumens in the RCIA in the process of learning about the Catholic faith and being formed in that faith. They bring to the process of preparation their prior experience of Christian life and prayer. For a baptized Christian, reception into full communion with the Catholic Church involves reception of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation and then a Profession of Faith followed by the celebration of Confirmation and the Eucharist.
Through a collaborative process of study, exploration, faith sharing, faith formation and study of the Catholic traditions and doctrines, RCIA leads to full participation through the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) as new Catholics join the body of Christ in a life long journey of conversion and discipleship.
The Sacraments of Initiation are celebrated at the Easter Vigil and throughout the year as needed.
These classes are for inquiring adults interested in becoming a member of the Church. Their sponsors and RCIA team members also attend.
The group meets Tuesday evenings from September to May for two hours.
To sign up for RCIA:
- Fill out a registration form.
- Contact Paula Kaempffer, 612-317-3473, to schedule an informational meeting.
A short history of the conversion process in the early church
Late 3rd and early 4th centuries The way one became a Christian had become very much established. It involved a time of preparation and discernment spread over about three years. The actual initiation, celebrated during the Easter Vigil, involved immersion in water, a generous anointing with oil and a sharing in the Eucharistic banquet.
6th and 7th centuries. As infant baptism became the norm, this process died out and was separated into Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.
The 2nd Vatican Council restored this process and reintroduced the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) with its beautiful rituals. Baptism of adults again became the norm.
Frequently Asked Questions about Adult Baptism Preparation
The Catholic Church warmly welcomes new members and tries to provide an appropriate spiritual formation according to each person's needs.
What is RCIA? The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the Church's way of initiating new members. It is a process of study, exploration, faith sharing, and faith formation with specific liturgical rites for seekers and inquirers. During this process, marked by regular ritual acts, participants are introduced to the liturgy, teachings, and life of the Catholic Church.
Who leads the RCIA process? Paula Kaempffer, director of learning, directs the RCIA process. A trained team of parishioners assists her by coordinating various areas of the formation.
If I begin, do I have to become a Catholic? There is no obligation or pressure to become a Catholic; we respect the conscience and decision of every inquirer. We hope that you gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of Catholic beliefs and practices.
I think I'd like to begin but I'm still hesitant. Feel free to contact Paula Kaempffer to discuss any concerns you have or any reason that you are reluctant to begin the RCIA. You’re never obligated to join the Church and your confidentiality will be respected.
How does one become Catholic? Most Catholics are born into Catholic families and gradually come to share in the full sacramental life of the Church. Others, who may have been previously baptized in a non-Catholic Christian Church, have become Catholics after making a solemn profession of faith, being confirmed and sharing Eucharist with the Catholic community. And some, never baptized, have been initiated through a process that leads to baptism, confirmation and Eucharist at the Church's annual celebration of Easter.
Who may attend the RCIA?
Seekers and inquirers are adults and older children who desire full communion in the Roman Catholic Church. This includes almost anyone.
- People interested in learning about Catholicism
- People who have never been baptized and desire full initiation into the Roman Catholic Church
- People who were baptized in another Christian faith tradition and are now interested in the Catholic tradition
- People who were baptized in the Catholic tradition, but were not raised Catholic, and are seeking the sacrament of Confirmation
- People who have not been baptized and desire to join the Church are invited into the ancient celebration of the RCIA.
- People who were baptized in another Christian denomination prepare for the sacraments of Confirmation and the Eucharist during their reception into the Catholic Church.
If I don’t know someone who can be my sponsor, how do I get one? Many parishioners volunteer to be RCIA sponsors. There will be a sponsor available for you.. Spouses, significant others or family members cannot sponsor you but they are welcome to attend the sessions. We might ask them to sponsor someone else.
What does the RCIA involve? Sessions meet each Tuesday evening from September through May. Attendance at Mass on Sundays is strongly encouraged.
What topics are discussed? The sessions cover a broad range of topics because our Catholic beliefs encompass the whole fabric of our lives. Topics include Scripture, Trinity, Church history, the Creed, Vatican II, the Sacraments, justice and many others.