Want to learn more? Start at any time!
You do not need to wait until September (or any other time of year) to begin your journey.
"Do you understand what you are reading?" "How can I unless someone guides me?" Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this scripture he told him the good news of Jesus (Acts 8:30–31).
The Catholic Church is missionary by her very nature and continues to respond to the Lord's command to his disciples: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Mt 28:19). We, the priests and parishioners of St. Patrick's, seek to share and spread the Catholic faith as an essential part of living it out.
RCIA ("Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults") is a catch-all term for the process of preparation that those who are interested in becoming Catholic undergo. Participants in RCIA include inquirers who are simply learning more about the faith; catechumens and candidates who have expressed their desire to become Catholic; and those adults who are already baptized as Catholics but who require instruction to prepare for one or more of the sacraments.
Five ways to start your journey with the right attitude.
Many people are interested in becoming Catholic, but once they start inquiring, they can get easily overwhelmed with anxious concerns: Am I really ready for such a big commitment? What will my family think if I become Catholic? Will I lose friends over this? What if my spouse is opposed?
1. Surrender Fear.
In the face of these worrisome questions, take consolation from the Lord’s words to the apostles: "Do not be afraid." Why does Jesus say, "Do not be afraid"? Because he is with us in the midst of the storm. "It is I."
2. Respond to God's inspirations.
God always takes the initiative in drawing souls to himself! If you find yourself looking into RCIA, do not see it as just some passing interest. Rather, recognize God is at work! He is knocking at the door of your heart. It is important to answer promptly.
Perhaps you already sense that God has been speaking to you in a profound way—even just to lead you to look up information on the Catholic Church. This is how he works. He moves the heart with invisible invitations and then gives you the strength to say yes to them. Maybe you've been asking yourself questions like these: "If I keep learning, will I discover that the Catholic faith is true?" "If I do discover it's true, will it make me a happier person?" "Will I actually come to know and love God—or come to know and love him more deeply—through the sacraments and his Church?"
3. Don't try to make up your mind right away.
Some people mistakenly think they must decide everything in advance. "I can't do RCIA until I know I'm going to become Catholic." Or, "I already know I'm going to become Catholic, so let’s just get this RCIA thing out of the way." Everyone needs time to receive the truths of the faith. No one can absorb it all at once. Give yourself time.
Have you ever had someone tell you "no" before you even got a chance to finish asking your question? Deciding against the Catholic faith before you begin RCIA is like saying "no" before you have given God a chance to finish his question.
4. Don't wait for the "perfect time"
So many people put off becoming Catholic (sometimes for years) because they feel they need to wait for something else to happen first. They think they are too busy or that they need to wait until they can "do it right." Sometimes people feel held back by others and tell themselves, "I can only become Catholic once my family or my spouse is completely comfortable with it." Do not burden yourself with these extra requirements. God does not demand these things of you, so don't demand them of yourself. There will never be a perfectly convenient time to begin. If you wait for the perfect time, it may never come. God has a way of inconveniencing us to bring us something much more important than convenience: Himself.
RCIA is not just one more activity to try to cram into a busy schedule. Though it involves a certain time commitment, many people experience RCIA as something that makes everything else more manageable. It actually brings peace and perspective in the midst of a chaotic schedule. It is an opening up to God’s strength and grace.
5. Pray every morning in silence for at least five minutes.
God can catch us in the morning before we are frazzled with the demands of the day. Give him some time that is just his so he can work in your heart.
To get the ball rolling...
Hallmarks of the RCIA Program at St. Patrick's
While the essentials of RCIA remain the same throughout the Catholic Church, St. Patrick's RCIA program is blessed to have the following hallmarks:
- Emphasis on personal conversion
- Instruction by Dominican friars
- Ability to begin the process at any time
- Emphasis on formation in the Church's tradition of liturgy, prayer, and devotions
- Sponsors from the parish
- Integration into active parish groups
- Emphasis on the saints as our "heavenly sponsors"
- Dominican Credo Curriculum
Want to invite a friend or loved one to consider becoming Catholic at St. Patrick?
Share this information with them and encourage them to contact Fr. Albert and the RCIA team.
Becoming a Godparent/Sponsor
If you are interested in getting involved as a sponsor, please complete this form. Sponsors provide encouragement and support to RCIA participants. The impact of a sponsor can be deep and lasting. To help candidates feel more at home at St. Patrick's, we generally choose sponsors who are members of the parish. Each sponsor is encouraged to attend the RCIA class sessions with his/her candidate, but this is not required. The most important part of a sponsor's work occurs outside the class sessions, but attending the sessions can be very helpful. Sponsors are required to attend the Rite of Acceptance, the Rite of Election, and the Easter Vigil (or Mass of initiation) with their candidates.