RCIA“a journey of One”One in Church... One in Community... One in Christ... Sacred Heart Church Palmerton, PA
thoughts... “Until you have given up yourself to Him you will not have a real self…but look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in…” C.S. Lewis “We’re going to discover the North Pole.” “Oh!” said Pooh again. “What is the North Pole?” he asked. “It’s just a thing you discover,” said Christopher Robin carelessly, not being quite sure himself. “Oh! I see,” said Pooh. “Are bears any good at discovering it?” “Of course they are. And Rabbit and Kanga and all of you. It’s an Expedition. That’s what an Expedition means. A long line of everybody.” A.A. Milne “Faith is the touching of a mystery.” Russian Orthodox Priest
introduction... The RCIA of Sacred Heart Church is a process built on a legacy of people, practices and history. History not only of Sacred Heart and Palmerton, but the deep rooted history of our Catholic faith and the doctrines as set forth by the Church. It is with this history in mind, that the work continues. The work of bringing knowledge, understanding and guidance to those who seek to become a part of this parish and more importantly a part of this faith we call Catholicism. This then is a beginning of sorts. A beginning for those who seek answers. A beginning for those who seek direction. A beginning for those seeking community. A beginning which truly has no end.
Sacred Heart ChurchRCIA Contacts / Directory... • Father Ward : Spiritual Director Sacred Heart Church, Palmerton , PA • Deacon Bill Pitts : Advisor / Facilitator • Irene Pitts : Content Advisor • Kathleen Merkle : Director of Religious Education • Rick Heller : Coordinator of RCIA Program/Facilitator • Susan Mullane : Coordinator of Mentors/Sponsors • Stephanie Heller : Coordinator of Hospitality & Social Affairs
a beginning... A beginning, always starts with many questions. Therefore, lets begin with answers to the FAQ’s of the RCIA. • What does “RCIA” stand for? “The Right of Christian Initiation for Adults” • What does it mean exactly? “It is primarily a process by which adults become full-fledged Catholics or simply learn more about the Catholic faith.” • How long has RCIA been around? “It is the method by which people came into the Church in the first several centuries.”
a beginning…cont. • What does the RCIA focus on? “It focuses on the Christian initiation of adults through the reception of the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist, ordinarily celebrated in a single liturgy during the Easter Vigil.” • What is the format of the RCIA? “It is a gradual process which comprises four phases. Inquiry, Catechumenate, Purification & Enlightenment, and Mystagogy. • Does everybody go through the same process? “No. The RCIA would be specific to the needs of each individual, and its’ length and content would be determined during the initial phase of Inquiry.”
a beginning…cont. • Will I go through the RCIA by myself? “No. You will be accompanied through the RCIA by a mentor/sponsor. This person could be chosen by you, if they are members of Sacred Heart, or someone will be provided to assist you on your journey. In addition,the Church community will be involved as well.” • What will my mentor be responsible for? “Their primary responsibility will be to bring your journey of faith outside of the church. Through meetings and conversations with the mentor outside of the class, you will share your mutual thoughts on faith and the week’s topic. They will assist with any questions you may have, and lend assistance to your spiritual growth.”
a beginning…cont. • How long does the process take? “It is difficult to give a timeframe at the outset. One person’s time frame is a little different from another’s. If you have not been baptized, the process usually takes a year or more. If you have already been baptized into another Christian faith tradition, you may require less time, depending on the faith formation you previously received and your present involvement in the practice of your faith.”
a look at…RCIA First Stage: Pre-Catechumenate This stage is a time of inquiry, not of commitment Rite of Acceptance & Welcoming Second Stage: Catechumenate This is a time of learning more about what the Church teaches through exploring the Scriptures Sunday celebration of Mass Rite of Election Enrollment of Names Third Stage: Purification & Enlightenment This is a time of retreat and reflection. It coincides with Lent First Sunday of Lent Rites of Baptism, Confirmation Eucharist Fourth Stage: Mystagogy This stage s a time of uncovering the meaning of living as a Catholic. It lasts from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Easter Vigil
responsibilities for inquirers... You come with your own life experience; your parents and siblings, your education and work, and your present family and relationships. You bring your own particular story__your concerns, your hurts, your struggles, your hopes and dreams. You may have had a strong relationship with God for a long time, or you may be seeking such a relationship. You may have had some connection with the Catholic Church or other faith traditions. Whatever your background, your own life experience is valued. Keys to success… Take time… Invest yourself… Ask questions… Meet people… Explore Catholicism… Trust the process…
inquirer duties... • Attend sessions and engage in various parts of the process. • Let God’s timing be more important than the calendar. • Take part in the celebration of Mass. • Talk to other Catholics and your mentor/sponsor about the essential elements of the Catholic Church. • Spend time getting acquainted with your mentor/sponsor. • Meet the pastoral ministers. • Take part in a parish function with a Catholic. • Invite your spouse, fiancée, or friend to take part in the sessions with you. • Continue to write in your journal and read the Bible. • Let yourself experience the journey.
responsibilities for mentors/sponsors... In the Catholic Church, accompanying someone on their journey of initiation is like the birthing of a child. As they learn what it means to be Catholic and discover the rich tradition of our Church, they awaken to a new way of living life. Your role is to be a companion; your task is to walk with them, guiding them through the process of the Church toward full initiation. In the past many people who have served as mentors have discovered this ministry to be a very powerful experience of faith and of the Church as community. May your experience as a mentor be rewarding and a renewal of your faith! Keys to success… Offer a Welcoming Spirit... Share Catholic Traditions… Listen… Share Life and Share Faith… Introduce Ministry… Offer friendship… Witness...
mentor duties... • Attend sessions (voluntary) with your catechumen or candidate. • Meet or talk weekly with your catechumen or candidate to review handouts, faith share, and answer questions. • Invite them to attend and sit with you at Mass. • Share the traditional prayers of the Church. • Invite your catechumen or candidate to parish activities. • Share your experience with the parish community through the bulletin. • Assist in preparing your catechumen or candidate for the rites. • Participate in the rites and be prepared for witness. • Periodically ask your catechumen or candidate how they feel they are progressing.
the next step... • Enrollment / Informational Record • Initial Interview • Orientation and Placement within the RCIA Program • RCIA Program • Mid Term Interview • RCIA Program • Concluding Interview • Program Evaluation
the process... The RCIA Process of Sacred Heart Church is designed to provide everyone with a foundation of the Catholic faith to enable the reception of the sacraments and full membership into the Church. The process has been tailored to meet the needs of each individual. In short, the extent of the process will be more for some and less for others. This will be determined upon the conclusion of the initial interview process. The building blocks of this process, and the keys to placement within the RCIA will be the knowledge and understanding surrounding the four fundamental parts or “pillars” of Christian Life and their underlyingCatholic doctrines.
the process…cont. These four pillars are the very heart of Christianity and are to be found at the origin of the Catholic faith. They are : “ Profession of Faith”… Creed (Cr) “Celebration of the Christian Mystery” … Sacraments (Sa) “Life in Christ” … Catholic morality and commandments (Cm) “Christian Prayer and Life” … Our Father (Cp)
process schedule... The RCIA Process schedule will be based on participation of individuals (not baptized), seeking full membership into the Catholic Church through the receipt of the Sacraments of Initiation and will be celebrated at the Easter Vigil. First Stage : Pre-Catechumenate (Inquiry) Session 1 : Journey of Faith (Intro.) (Cr) Session 6 : Catholic Practices & Church (Cm) Session 2 : God & Meaning of Mass (Cr) Session 3 : The Bible & Catholic Interpretation (Cr) Session 4 : The Saints and Mary (Cr) Session 5 : The Catholic Church (Cr) (History * Places * Who’s Who) Rite of Acceptance & Welcoming Sunday celebration of Mass
process schedule…cont. Second Stage : Catechumenate Session 7 : Celebrating Paschal Mystery / Sacraments (Sa) Session 8 : Sacraments of Initiation (Sa) Session 9 : Eucharist (Sa) Session 16 : Lent & the Truth of Jesus (Cm) Session 10 : Sacraments of Healing (Sa) Session 11 : Sacraments of Vocation (Sa) Session 12 : Early Church & History (Cr) Session 13 : Jesus and the People of God (Cm) Session 14 : Foundations of Catholic Morality (Cm) Session 15 : Catholic Teaching on Social Justice & Ethics of Life (Cm) Schedule Interviews Rite of Election Enrollment of Names First Sunday of Lent Celebrated at the Cathedral
process schedule…cont. Third Stage : Purification & Enlightenment Session 17 : Lent * The Nicene Creed & The Way of the Cross (Cm & Cp) Session 18 : The Commandments (Love of God) (Cm) Session 19 : The Commandments (Love of Neighbor) (Cm) Session 20 : Meaning of Holy Week & Confession (Cm) Session 21 : Review and Questions ?? Penance Service : Holy Thursday Liturgy : Good Friday Liturgy : Rites of Baptism, Confirmation Eucharist Easter Vigil
process schedule…cont. Fourth Stage : Mystagogy Session 22 : Conversion : A Lifelong Process & The Laity (Cm) Session 23 : Your Special Gifts & Family Life (Cm & Cp) Session 24 : Christian Prayer * Discernment * The Lord’s Prayer (Cp) Session 25 : Holiness & Evangelization (Cp) Session 26 : Reflection and Review and Relax…. Continue the journey…and keep asking the questions...???? Schedule Interviews & Collect Evaluations
process evaluation... • The success of the RCIA depends on the personal growth and formation of the individuals as well as that of the church community. Therefore, constant feedback from the inquirers, mentors, facilitators and advisors is extremely vital to this success. • Interviews with participants will be conducted during the RCIA Process to evaluate and determine if changes or modifications need to be made. • Participant questionnaire will be completed to determine RCIA Process success/impact. • Evaluation meetings will be conducted between RCIA Coordinator and Mentors/Sponsors and reported to the CRE and the Spiritual Director
resources... RCIA Primary Resources Book : “This is our Faith” by Michael Pennock Book : “Holy Bible, New American Bible”, Catholic Bible Press Handouts : “Journey of Faith” RCIA Study / Research Resources Book : “Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults”, National Conference of Catholic Bishops Book : “Catechism of the Catholic Church” Book : “One at the Table”, Ronald Oakham Book : “The New World of Faith”, Avery Dulles, S.J. Magazine : “Catechist”
resources…cont RCIA Study / Research Resources…cont. Book : “General Directory for Catechesis”, Libreria Editrice Vaticana Pamphlets : “Foundations in Faith”, RCL*Resources for Christian Living Handbook : “What you should know about the RCIA”, Charlene Altemose, MSC Additional Materials Needed -Journal/Notebooks for Mentors and Inquirers
additional suggested reading... • “Why do Catholics Do that?”, Kevin Orlin Johnson, Ph.D. • “Mere Christianity”, C. S. Lewis • “People of God” (History of Catholic Christianity), Anthony Giles • “Nearer My God”, William F. Buckley Jr.
concluding thought... “Faith is such a simple thing. It can’t talk, but only sing. It can’t reason, but can dance. Take a chance. Take a chance. Life is full of ways to go. Sun, rain, wind, snow. All unknowingly we trace, a geography of grace. From breath to breath and blink to blink, it’s never quite the way we think.” Protestant minister and composer