June 5, 2022
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA): Part 1 of 9
This article is the first of an eight-part series on RCIA.
What is RCIA?
RCIA is an acronym. It stands for the name of the ritual text (that is the books the Church issues to guide how we celebrate our Christian lives liturgically) provided to guide the process of adults who wish to become Catholic Christians. The book is called Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Hence RCIA.
- Note: At present, that ritual text is under revision. When it is released in English it will be known as the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults. You guessed it: OCIA.
Why should I understand the RCIA? Isn’t this sort of a private thing?
First, it’s not a private journey! It’s a personal journey, but faith is caught, not taught. Faith blossoms in the midst of the community of believers who themselves testify to the living Christ by their words and works. It’s the welcome, the invitations, the curiosity, the commitment, the love, compassion, and joy that make belief possible.
- It’s the works of charity and justice, carried out despite the difficulties, despite perceived limited resources, despite the unending need that shows faith in action.
- It’s the full-throated singing, unified spoken prayer, palpable silence, spontaneous applause…it’s the hands lifted in blessing, the tissues shared in sorrow, the shared gasp of death’s arrival that bring Christ alive in worship.
- It’s the phone call inviting another to attend an adult learning opportunity, reading the bulletin, offering an extra few dollars, fist bumping a kid, and serving as one who shares faith with children that demonstrate Jesus’ claim upon our lives.
So no, initiation is not private. It’s communal. Initiation into life in Christ needs us all to understand our roles in bringing others to Christ!
But here’s the other thing: the Church wants us to use this pattern of bringing others to Christ to be the model for all faith formation in the parish. (General Directory for Catechesis #90-91) If we are going to do that, we need to understand the model. So that’s WHY these segments and articles are so important!