Catholic Corner
July 6, 2022

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA):  Part 5 of  9

This article is part of a series. If you haven’t read the previous parts in the series, it would be helpful to do that before continuing on, as they are most informative if read in order. The entire series can be seen in the box on the page.

What is happening with a catechumen or candidate after the communal rituals?

We open up the Scriptures, we engage in works of charity and justice with the rest of the parish, we invite catechumens to experience the Liturgy of the Word in Mass (for the unbaptized), and we invite those already baptized who are already in partial communion with us, to celebrate the entire Mass except communion.  We share stories and meals, we laugh and mourn, we study and pray, and we search for the Lord’s presence.  Word, Worship, Community and Witness…these are all part of formation.

We do this geared to each individual.  But it’s communal as well, as each person has a sponsor, a small team of catechists, and of course, each of us welcoming them into our Christian lives.

It seems like this is the Christian journey for all of us.  So how does anyone ever get finished with this?

You are right to note that what the RCIA intends is an apprenticeship in Christian life, tailored to nourish what is already happening and to provide enough experiences of what may be missing so that both catechumens and candidates are practicing Christian living…they know what they are getting into.  They know the need for prayer, for Scripture, for ongoing growth that leads to ongoing change; they know the need to belong to a community and they have a smaller segment of the community that will help them continue the journey…especially in that first year after initiation.  And they know because they have experienced this, personally and communally.  It’s not just an intellectual formation…it’s an experiential one, designed to open the doors to encounters with Jesus Christ, alive!  So when are they done?  When the knowledge and related practices have taken root.  Who decides?  They do, along with the help of the people who have been walking this journey with them.

Related Articles in the RCIA Series