Becoming Catholic

Interested in learning more about the Catholic faith? Not sure where to begin? Here is a quick and easy overview of the process of becoming Catholic

God always invites people into a deeper relationship – sometimes in ordinary ways and sometimes in extraordinary ways. You may be experiencing the first urge to know about the Catholic faith or you may have been reflecting on this for some time.  Regardless of what has brought you to this page, it is our sincere hope that you take the time to learn more about the Christian initiation process of becoming a Catholic. It is known as the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.

At St. Catherine’s, RCIA typically meets at the 10:00am Mass on Sundays in the Church and on various Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm in Haut Hall.

For more information or to sign up for RCIA at St. Catherine’s, call Vincent Reilly at the Parish Office (904) 264-0577 or e-mail him a formation@stcatherineop.com

What is the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)?

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is the process in which anyone aged 7 or older is welcomed into the Catholic Church through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and/or  Eucharist.

“The rite of Christian initiation is designed for adults who, after hearing the mystery of Christ proclaimed, consciously and freely seek the living God and enter the

way of faith and conversion as the Holy Spirit opens the heart” (RCIA 1).

  • This process is designed for adults… therefore, we adopt an adult learning model.
  • You are here because you have hopefully already received a calling from God.
  • This is a time for you to make your response to God’s invitation.
  • The Holy Spirit is essential to this process.  Always be open to the Holy Spirit.

“The RCIA aims at bringing the catechumens conversion and faith to maturity, in response to God’s call and in union with the Church” (CCC 1248).

  • We will work together to form an adult faith – a faith not based on superstition or fear, but knowledge and understanding of the faith.
  • We work to sustain that faith within the Church, following the teachings and tradition of the Church.

Who are the different candidates in RCIA?

  • Group 1: People who are not baptized:  This group prepared to receive Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil.  We usually refer to this group as catechumens.
  • Group 2: Non-Catholic Christians: This group prepares to make a profession of faith, and receive Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil.  We usually refer to this group as candidates for profession of faith.
  • Group 3: Catholics:  This group is for Catholics who have not had any formal instruction in the faith.  This group prepares to receive Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil.   We usually refer to this group as candidates for full communion.

Who are the guides in RCIA?

  • Sponsor: one who assists the catechumen or candidate in preparing for the sacraments.
  • Godparent: one who presents the catechumen or candidate for the sacraments and forms a permanent bond with the newly initiated.  A sponsor and godparent could be the same person.
  • Core Team: a group of individuals who each assist 3-4 catechumens or candidates, with their sponsors in their preparation process.

What is the focus of the RCIA?

  • Learning: The acquisition of doctrine found in our catholic faith.
  • Living: The development of an apprenticeship relationship with Christ, parish, sponsors, and fellow candidates.
  • Liturgy: The use of prayer and ritual to allow the Holy Spirit to open our hearts.
  • Evangelization: The active spread of the Gospel in word and action.

What is our “road map”?

  • The key beliefs of the Catholic Church found in the creed.
  • The meaning of Scripture within the context of the tradition of the Church.
  • The purpose and meaning of the Sacraments of the Church.
  • The formation of an active prayer life.
  • An understanding of the Church’s social and moral teachings.

What does the “road” look like?

For the unbaptized:

What does the “road” look like?

For the baptized:

what-does-the-road-look-like2

What about sponsors or godparents?

St. Catherine’s Church provides an RCIA Team as well as a host of sponsors to assist each catechumen and candidate become acclimated to and be able to feel at home in our parish.  However, some catechumens and candidates wish to select a family member or friend to serve as their godparent for the sacraments.  We ask that you choose a godparent no later than February 1, and that you must let your parish sponsor and Vincent know no later than that date so that all the proper paperwork and logistics may be completed.  All sponsors are expected to participate in the Rite of Election, the RCIA Retreat, the Preparation Rites, the Rehearsal for the Easter Vigil, and the Easter Vigil.

Church Requirements for Sponsors/Godparents

In order to serve as a sponsor/godparent, a person must:

  • Be a Catholic who has been baptized, received the Eucharist and been confirmed, and who is currently living a sacramental life (i.e. attending Mass regularly) and is not in an irregular marriage;
  • Be at least sixteen years of age;
  • Lead a life in harmony with the ministry they are undertaking, and have the intention of undertaking the ministry of a sponsor;
  • Not be a parent of the individual to be baptized or confirmed. (Canon 874)

Parish Requirements for Sponsors/Godparents

Sponsors & Godparents from St. Catherine’s Church will:

  • Meet canonical requirements (see above);
  • Be a parishioner who is actively engaged in the life of the parish, who is prepared to undertake the roles described, and in addition, to introduce the candidate or catechumen to life in St. Catherine’s Parish.
  • Witness to the team and to the community about the life of the catechumen or candidate;
  • Participate actively in the RCIA process by attending sponsor formation, weekly sessions, Rites celebrated, Sacraments celebrated, the neophyte year and beyond.

A candidate may select a sponsor or godparent of his or her choosing.   If the selection is a family member or non-parishioner of St. Catherine’s, our parish reserves the right to select an additional sponsor to serve alongside this sponsor to assist the candidate through the RCIA process.  In addition, each candidate is assigned a Core Team member to assist the candidate however necessary.

What about previous marriages?

If you or your current spouse have been previous married to someone else and have not already completed an annulment from a Catholic Tribunal, please contact Vincent (formation@stcatherineop.com) immediately!  Because the Church recognizes all natural marriages and any children that may have been a product of those marriages, anyone who has been previously married or is married to someone who has been previously married must receive a declaration of nullity from the Church, even if you were not married in a Church.   An annulment is not a Catholic divorce, nor does it have any legal implications, even on your children.  However, an annulment is necessary to receive Sacraments in the Catholic Church and can take many months to complete.

What we will do…

  • Be prepared and organized for each meeting and activity.
  • Be supportive and respectful of you in your conversion process and to help you along your way.
  • Be available to answer questions and concerns you may have.
  • Pray for you as you continue along your journey of faith.

What you should do…

  • Be open to the RCIA process.
  • Attend meetings and events.
  • Meditate on the weekly Scripture readings and read “The Well Built Faith” as assigned.
  • Keep a journal of feelings, emotions, and questions.
  • Pray for guidance and strength.

RCIA A Journey in Faith