A process for exploring the possibility of joining the Roman Catholic Church through the Holy Rosary Parish Community.

Most adults became Catholic over a long period of time. Many were baptized as infants, spent their childhood in Catholic homes, and received their education through the Catholic school system. These people were gradually initiated into the full life of the Church through the reception of the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. Some adults, who were baptized in a non-Catholic Church, have become Roman Catholics after making a solemn profession of faith, being confirmed, and sharing in the Eucharist with the Roman Catholic community.

Other adults who have never been baptized have been initiated into the Roman Catholic Church after a process of formation, prayer and discernment by the individual and the community. This initiation is marked by the celebration of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist at the annual celebration of Easter.

In Canada, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has urged parishes to implement the RCIA. Its goal is to foster or deepen one's personal conversion to Jesus Christ, to living the gospel proclaimed by Jesus, and to participating in the life of the faith community.

The RCIA provides a structure that incorporates the preaching and teaching of the gospel, prayer, spiritual direction, and catechesis (handing on the tradition of the Church) and personal contact with members of the local parish. The RCIA calls all members of the parish to share their faith with the new members. The parishioners are asked to welcome, support, and pray for these men and women as they journey towards full initiation in the Roman Catholic Church. The parish provides sponsors who act as companions for those who are seeking membership in the Catholic community. There are liturgical celebrations or rites that are celebrated throughout the journey to mark the candidate's spiritual growth and to visibly express the parish's concern and support.

Period of Inquiry and Evangelization.

The first period is a time of inquiry for those seeking admission to the Church. This is a time for the Church to evangelize by telling the story of Jesus. It is a time to ask questions about the Church and faith. It is also a time for candidates to examine their lives and see where they are led to this process.

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Period of the Catechumenate.

Those adults who express their faith in Jesus Christ and a sincere desire to enter the Catholic Church move to the second period. This period is known as the Catechumenate which is primarily a time of catechesis. The candidates for initiation are known as catechumens. They study the faith of the Church and are dismissed from the Eucharist after the homily to learn, with the RCIA team, about the teachings of the Scriptures (in addition to their normal meeting).

Period of Purification and Enlightenment.

The third period usually begins on the first Sunday of Lent. Those who are ready to receive the sacraments of initiation enter into a more reflective period coinciding with the six weeks of Lent. The candidate reflect on the meaning of Baptism and being a disciple of Jesus. Through the liturgical rites, the parish community helps the candidates by praying for a strengthening of all that is good and protection from that which is sinful or harmful. This period ends with the celebration of the initiation sacraments at the Easter Vigil.

Christians who are already baptized are received into full communion with the Catholic Church (they are not re-baptized). At this celebration the whole Catholic assembly renews baptismal vows and promises.

Period of Mystagogy or Post-baptismal Catechesis.

The 50 days from Easter to Pentecost complete the formal initiation process. During this festive season of Easter, the new members, with the parish community, reflect on and penetrate the deeper meaning of the Easter sacraments. This is a time when new members are welcomed by the community as they begin to discover how they will share in the mission of the Church. In many dioceses during this time, the Bishop meets with the new members and their families to celebrate a festive Mass of thanksgiving.

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For whom is the RCIA?

The RCIA is for any adult wishing to become a member of the Roman Catholic Church through Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. For an adult baptized in another Christian Church seeking full membership in the Roman Catholic Church, the RCIA will provide suitable catechesis and time for reflection on their spiritual journey. Their religious background and experience is respected during the initiation process.

How long will it take to become a Roman Catholic?

The RCIA is not a program that begins and ends on a predetermined schedule. Some people need more time than others to prepare for initiation into the Roman Catholic Church. The usual length of time is one to two years. Initiation usually occurs at the Easter Vigil each year. The celebration of Christian initiation at the Easter Vigil highlights the focus of our Christian life: the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

What is the first step in becoming a Roman Catholic?

Anyone who would like more information is invited to call the Catholic Parish nearest their home. In Holy Rosary Parish you may call 519-822-4701, the Parish office (ext. 21) or contact our Pastor (ext. 22).

Or you may just send in an application form; click here: RCIA form , print it and mail it or deliver it to the parish office.

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Updated April 16, 2012