The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is a process of initiation into the Catholic Community of Faith.  This is for persons who are seeking baptism in the Catholic Church or full communion with the Catholic tradition through the Profession of Faith, reception of Holy Eucharist and Confirmation.  It is a process which enables the study of the Gospels, Catholic teaching, Christian values, and the development and deepening of a life of prayer and action with the support and involvement of the parish community.

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RITE of ACCEPTANCE

In this rite, those who have never been baptized state their intention to respond to God’s call to follow the way of Christ.  The Church, in turn, accepts them into the Order of Catechumens (a Greek word meaning “hearers”).  “From this time on, the Church embraces the catechumens as its own with a mother’s love and concern. 

RITE of ELECTION

After long months of formation and preparation, as the season of Lent begins, the catechumens who are ready gather at the St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Manchester with the Bishop of our diocese,  and the catechumens, pastors, and RCIA teams of many other parishes.  During this rite, the catechumens formally declare their wish to enter fully into the life of the Church through the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist, and write their names in the Book of the Elect.

The SACRAMENTS of INITIATION

At the Easter Vigil, the Elect receive the sacraments of initiation–Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist.  By Baptism, they are received into the royal priesthood of believers; by Confirmation, they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and share in the outpouring of grace that came upon the apostles at Pentecost.  They then receive the Holy Eucharist, sharing for the first time in the Body and Blood of Christ, the heavenly food that strengthens us to carry out Christ’s work in our own time and place.

DISMISSALS

Each Sunday, the catechumens are dismissed following  the homily at the 9:00 a.m. Holy Mass.  With a leader, they go to a seminar room where they spend time to reflect, discuss, and pray on the readings of the day.  This immersion in the Word of God as Food is a primary part of their preparation and formation.

 SCRUTINIES

Celebrated on the 3rd, 4th , and 5th Sundays of Lent, the Scrutinies are intended to deliver the Elect from the power of sin, to protect them against temptation, and to give them strength in Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Through prayers and ritual action, the Elect acknowledge their faults.

From one of the Scrutiny prayers:  “Father of mercies… look with love on these Elect and fulfill their hopes; they have already experienced temptation and they acknowledge their faults.  Lead them from darkness into your unfailing light, cleanse them from sin, let them know the joy of your peace, and guide them safely through life

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