What Does it Have to do With Me?
Quite simply, Catholic teaching is God’s answer to the deepest longings of the human heart. It’s God’s answer to the meaning of life and His invitation to a whole new way of life beyond anything we could ever imagine. As unbelievable as it may sound, the Catholic life is a foretaste of Heaven on earth. It’s a sharing in the Divine Life of God Himself, that gives us supernatural abilities to live up to our high calling to be saints.
New Love, New Life
Most (although not all) who come to RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults)
have fallen in love with a Catholic and want to understand their beloved’s faith. As the process goes on, they discover that they’ve fallen in love again–this time with the God Who loves them so much that He would rather die an agonizing death on a cross than live without them. And it makes a difference in their lives. Their God-given dignity grows and deepens and a new peace fills their lives. Over and over we hear, “My life is so different now. I’m making better choices. Things make so much more sense now. I’m finally on the right track. I pray all the time and I love coming to church.”
There’s a lot of misunderstanding about what the Catholic Church is and teaches, but Catholic beliefs aren’t supposed to be a secret. Jesus told His followers to “go out to all the world and proclaim the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15). The Catholic Church has used every available form of communication to do exactly that since the very beginning.
However, in a society that considers religion “off-limits”, the popular media is not available for proclaiming the good news. Instead, it often proclaims misunderstandings that are mistaken for truth–even by Catholics.
In addition, the deepest truths of the very meaning of life–which is what Catholic teaching is all about–are not easily captured in sound-bites. Careful explanation, thought and reflection are needed. Even Jesus took three years (not three minutes) to reveal Himself and His message to His first followers.
Go to the Source
This is why we’re offering sessions based on Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church–official documents of the Catholic Church–to thoughtfully present and explain the truth of what the Catholic Church teaches about God’s plan of salvation and what it means in daily life. We also strongly encourage daily prayer, so that God Himself can lead.
What Can I Expect?
When people asked Jesus about His way of life, He told them to “come and see” (John 1:38-39). He then taught these followers His way of life through stories, teachings, questions and experiences. He gave them opportunities to commit themselves to Him more and more deeply until they could say with St. Paul, “the life I live now is not my own; Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). The early Church followed Jesus’ example, inviting inquirers to “come and see”, teaching them and leading them through stages of commitment to new life in Christ.
This, in a nutshell, is RCIA.
It’s the process of initiation used by Jesus and by the early Church,
adapted to meet today’s needs.
We meet for weekly 1½ hour sessions of prayer, song, Scripture reading, presentations and discussions about what it means to be Catholic.
Sponsors, who are Catholics with a special gift for spiritual companionship,
come alongside to offer one-on-one support and guidance.
Respectful questions are encouraged (and answered!).
These sessions are free and open to everyone.
For those who wish to become Catholic,
a day-long retreat will be held before each stage of commitment
to give candidates time away from the distractions of everyday life
to spiritually prepare for these commitments.
What’s the Catch?
RCIA is a process of initiation, and one can go on to become Catholic if they want to.
If they do, then they become the “catch” (Jesus told His disciples He would make them “fishers of men”–Matthew 4:19). But that decision is entirely between the individual and God. We do not want anyone to become Catholic unless/until they couldn’t imagine
being anything else.
Throughout the process of RCIA the focus is on our final goal,
the destiny for which God created us:
the eternal, abundant life of joy we call HEAVEN!