What is RCIA and Who is it for?
Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens / Rite of Welcoming
Rite of Election / Call to Continuing Conversion
Sacraments of Initiation – Easter Vigil
Discerning the call
Discerning the call to become Catholic involves an investment of time, study and prayer. Inquiry also known as Precatechumenate normally meets year round on the First and Third Sunday at 9:30 am in Parish office building. Participation in all four periods of RCIA is required for completing the process of initiation. Please call the office to register.
R.C.I.A. has been around since the early Church - and was the method in which the Church prepared un-baptized adults to be received into the Christian Church (which later became known as the Catholic Church). The R.C.I.A. process was an intense period of study, prayer, and conversion which (in the Church's early days) often lasted up to three years. During the process, a sponsor would testify to the entire assembly of the conversion, authenticity, and genuine readiness of the individual. After some time, the process was put aside and in its place private preparation was used.
The Second Vatican Council brought back the R.C.I.A. process in keeping with the spirit of communal participation of the whole Church. Inquirers enter into a public process, are formed in community, and integrated into the life of the Church through that community.
Keeping in the spirit of the original preparation, the base elements of study, prayer, community, and discernment remain and are integral, though persons may now possibly enter the Church in a shorter time-frame, based on his/her needs. There is no set time for an RCIA process to run; it varies from parish to parish, and with person-to-person.
The decision to accept baptism, or to become a Catholic, or to complete one's Catholic initiation must be the free will of each person. The Catholic Church does not coerce, guilt, nor do we manipulate this decision. A person does not have to make a decision by the Easter Vigil; each person is free to discern for as long as necessary until they are ready to make a decision.
Regardless of a person's age or circumstances, the Church is tasked with the duties, rights, and responsibilities to ensure that each individual meets the requirements set out by the Code of Canon Law, as well as publicly demonstrates the desire, readiness, and lifestyle that reflects acceptance and understanding of the Gospel and becoming a member of the Catholic Church.
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, is for anyone who has reached the age of reason. The Church defines this age as 7 years old. Therefore, an adult who fits in one of the categories below may be a candidate for RCIA:
- Never baptized, or baptism was not in the Trinitarian formula with water;
- Baptized in the Trinitarian formula with water in a Christian church;
- Baptized & Confirmed Catholic and lacking First Holy Communion
- Baptized Catholic lacking BOTH First Holy Communion and Confirmation
Please note: St. Lawrence does not guarantee that every person who participates in RCIA will be able to be received into the Church at the following Easter Vigil, as this is dependent on a variety of factors.
The desire to receive the sacraments of the Catholic Church presupposes one's willingness to live according to the Church's teachings and precepts. The Catholic Church teaches that a person entering the Church must be in a state of grace prior to being received. A state of grace means that a person is truly free to receive the sacraments and is not conscious of any grave sin. This has very specific meaning with regard to marriage.
Therefore, the Church must inquire into the marital history of each individual entering the R.C.I.A. process. This means, the present marriage and any prior marriages will be reviewed to be certain they are in good standing with the Church's teaching on marriage. The Pastoral Associate, Sue Schmitz, will determine if any additional research needs to occur with regard to the marriage after the initial interview.
Please note: Persons entering the R.C.I.A. process who are married to Catholics are not required to become Catholic and should be freed of any pressures or expectations. Persons seeking to become Catholic need to make this choice because they believe this is what God is asking them to do, they believe what they have heard, and want to embrace the truths professed by the Catholic Church, even if they don't understand it all.
The clergy and R.C.I.A. team of St. Lawrence honors the discernment and free decision made by every person who enters R.C.I.A., regardless of what the outcome may be.