RCIA - The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
Welcome to the Journey!
Congratulations! You are already on your way toward a deeper faith. Even if you have not started RCIA yet, reading this is at least your first step toward completing the journey. Like most journeys, there will be some steep hills to climb, many obstacles, and even a few traps along the way. But, do not let me scare you! If you invite Christ into your life, He will be there every step of the way. The steep hills will feel like a casual downhill walk. The obstacles will be scenery to enjoy along the way. And, you will never even notice the traps. Trust in Him, and He will carry you through.
What is RCIA - The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults?
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, or RCIA, is the way that adults can become Catholic. Basically, RCIA is adult Confirmation. Every Catholic must go through some form of Confirmation. Most "Cradle Catholics" go through Confirmation after they reach the age of reason. Basically, the age of reason is the age at which you first become aware of the differences between right and wrong. The actual age differs for everyone, and many argue when this actually happens. Either way, as an adult, we are way beyond that.
To understand what Catholic RCIA is all about, it is important to understand Confirmation. Whether you are a teenager or grandmother of seven kids, Confirmation applies in the same way. It is the method by which we join the Catholic Church. As adults, the difference is that the classes are focused around us. Our questions may be different. Our ability to understand may be different. Our maturity is certainly different. For these reasons, and many others, the Church has a specific program to help us as we begin our journey in the Catholic faith.
My Personal Experience
Like you, I went through the RCIA journey. In many ways, I am still a toddler in the Catholic faith (though I have been a Christian for many years). As I am writing the pages of this website, it is an exercise in growth. Many of the questions that you may have are the same ones that I had. When I begin to write on another topic, I may be learning something completely new. So, when you read what I have shared, realize that it is coming from someone just like you.
Going through RCIA was a challenge for me. For years, I had challenged many of the beliefs of the Catholic Church. Few people were more cynical than I was as a young adult. So, while you read my words now, do not forget how far I have come. I went from bold cynic to staunch supporter. In many ways, I was like Saul. Saul heavily persecuted the Christians. He was infamous for what he was doing to the young Christian Church of the first century. In the end, God made Saul see the error of his ways, and he eventually became one of the Apostles (read Acts 9). You may know him better as St. Paul, the man who wrote a majority of the New Testament.
In no way, shape, or form am I comparing myself to the greatness of St. Paul. This man, inspired by the Lord, was one of the major contributors to the greatest book of all time. I, however, am a man with a mouse, a keyboard, and a short story to tell. I do not have all of the answers. My life may not be inspiring. There are still many questions that I need answered. But as long as I am learning, I thought that I would share my findings with you.
RCIA the Right Way
Who is to say what is the right or wrong way to go through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. It is a personal journey. It begins with a choice, and it ends with a choice. Plus, there are a number of smaller choices in between. The first choice is whether or not to start the Catholic RCIA process. It is not an easy choice. Personally, I began RCIA with some hesitation. Then, as we advance along, we must choose to attend each class. We must choose to study on our own. We must choose to ask the difficult questions. We can only learn if our heart and soul allow us to. Finally, the process ends with a choice, the most important choice. The choice to become a Catholic is not complete until the day of the rite. We are not initiated as an RCIA Catholic until we participate in the rite. We must choose to be there.
You will struggle along the way. However, you will also grow along the way. Thirst for knowledge. Study the Scriptures. Read the Catechism. Pray fervently. This can be one of the most amazing experiences of your life, if you are open to it. May God bless you and keep you safe on your journey!