We, at St. Pius X, are honored to welcome you to our church community. This may be a time of inquiring and questioning of the Catholic faith. The RCIA is not a “sign-up” for becoming a Catholic rather, it is a time for you to seek out the truths and understand the teachings and practices as you journey in the faith through the Catholic Church. The Journey will take you through four stages:
1.) The Pre-Catechumenate or period of Inquiry
Here at St. Pius X, the RCIA process begins by attending Inquiry Sessions. During this stage,everyone brings their own personal story and whatever your background, your life experience is welcome and valued. You will be led to deepen your relationship with God and discover the Catholic faith. We encourage you to ask questions, hear and learn about the Gospel, and share your faith with Catholics who are members of this parish community and with other people who are also exploring the Catholic faith.
2.) The Catechumenate
When you are ready, and express a desire to accept the Gospel and continue on your faith journey, the church will formally confirm your desire through the Rite of Acceptance and Welcome. You will then begin a stage called the Catechumenate where you will study the Church teachings more formally. There are two groups. The Catechumens are those who are Un-baptized and the Candidates are those who are already baptized either in a Catholic or Protestant Church, but who are not fully initiated in the Catholic Church. You will also learn about prayer and the worship life of the Church. You will learn how to live and serve others in apostolic witness and develop your relationship with the Catholic faith community.
3.) The Period of Purification and Enlightenment
The period of Catechumenate is then followed by a stage during Lent called Purification and Enlightenment which begins with the Rite of Election on the First Sunday of Lent. Catechumens begin a final preparation for initiation into the Catholic Church. This is a time for reflection and prayer as you purify your minds and hearts by celebrating several rituals called the Scrutinies during parish liturgies. The Candidates also prepare to receive the Sacraments of First Eucharist and Confirmation. Lent ends when the sacred Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter begins. At the Easter Vigil the Elect celebrate the sacraments. In the early Church, the Easter Vigil was the only liturgy of the year in which people joined the Church because at Easter we celebrate Christ’s victory over death and our sharing in that victory through baptism. The journey during that all-night vigil was a journey from darkness to light, from death to life. This is the journey that new Christians share as they descend and rise from the waters of baptism in which they are reborn.
4.) The Period of Mystagogy
During this final stage (the word Mystagogy comes from Greek meaning “interpretation of mystery.”) the new Catholics (called neophytes) deepen their understanding of the paschal mystery and make it a part of their lives. Mystagogy meets weekly after Easter until Pentecost.
If you have made this decision or even if you are not sure and just want to see what Catholicism is all about your time of inquiry will be respected as each person’s faith journey and path of grace is different. Our team will lead the RCIA sessions through teaching, direction, question answering, discussion, and prayer.
For more information, please contact:
Donna Cooper, Administrative Assistant