Do you think you might be interested in joining our Catholic faith community here at Mary Star of the Sea?
The way adults (18 and over) become Catholic is called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, or RCIA for short.
The RCIA is a gradual process that takes place within the community of the faithful. By gathering together for prayer and reflection on the Word of God along with faith-filled volunteers who are excited about sharing their Catholic faith, you will be inspired to follow the Holy Spirit more generously, wherever the Spirit might be leading you.
The rite also helps prepare baptized Catholic adults with no formal religious training so that they might receive Eucharist and Confirmation, as well as those baptized in other Christian faith traditions who seek full communion with the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church recognizes that the Holy Spirit does not follow a rigid timetable. The process of listening to God's call and responding can take months for some people and an entire lifetime for others. Therefore, the RCIA is a flexible process intended to support you, wherever you may be on your faith journey. It is intended to honor the experiences of God you have already had, and at the same time to help you grow deeper in your faith and understanding of God.
The RCIA begins with an open-ended period of Inquiry. This is a time of no commitments, a time to freely explore what the Catholic Church has to offer, and to get the answers to your own specific questions so that you can decide whether this is the path that God truly intends for you.
Only after you are satisfied, and have decided to progress further, does the Church invite you to take the next step and become a Catechumen, someone who formally announces that he or she wishes to
become Catholic. In return, you will receive the promise of prayerful support from the entire parish community. The period of the catechumenate usually lasts about a year and includes frequent celebrations of the Word of God, prayers and blessings, which are meant to help you listen more closely to God.
Each spring, during the season of Lent, those Catechumens who feel ready for baptism travel to the Cathedral for the Rite of Election. There the Church formally acknowledges the work of the Holy Spirit that has been taking place in their lives, and declares that these men and women are now the "Elect," people chosen by God to come into the fullness of the Catholic faith through the sacraments of initiation at Easter.
To help the Elect prepare for their sacraments, the Church offers them a time of intense prayer and reflection during the weeks of Lent. These weeks are privileged moments of grace: the Elect reflect seriously on the place of God in their lives and ask the community's support as they try to listen more intently to the words of Jesus Christ and to follow him with their whole heart.
The journey of faith reaches its high point at the Easter Vigil, where the Elect receive all three sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation. They are now full-fledged members of the Catholic Church!
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