The RCIA program at Sacred Heart is an ongoing process; we welcome people at any time of the year to join the process.
The first phase of the process is called Inquiry or Pre-catechumenate. Persons in this phase of inquiry meet as a group on the first and third Sunday of each month at 9:30 am. After a few months in the pre-catechumenate the individual is usually ready to move into the next phase, and to mark this transition into the catechumenate we celebrate the Rite of Acceptance.
The Catechumenate meets every Sunday, gathering together at the 8:30 am Mass. The catechumens (unbaptized) are dismissed after the homily and go with a catechist to break open the Word that we have heard for further reflection and understanding. The period of the Catechumenate usually lasts for at least a year and could last for as long as three years.
For those who are ready to be baptized in a particular year, the catechumenate ends with celebration of the Rite of Election on the first Sunday of Lent. The season of Lent is a time of special retreat for the Elect as they prepare for the sacrament of Baptism, which they will celebrate at the Easter Vigil. This retreat time is called the Period of Purification and Enlightenment and readiness to move from the catechumenate into this time of final preparation is discerned with the RCIA coordinator.
Persons who have been baptized in another faith tradition but want to be fully received into the Catholic Church are called candidates. After a period of inquiry, we celebrate the Rite of Welcome. These candidates then join the catechumenate for as long as necessary to prepare to be received into full communion in the Catholic Church. Usually they are also dismissed at the 8:30 am Mass on Sunday. Because the baptized share a common baptism with us, they may choose to remain for the entire Mass, even though they do not yet fully share at the table of the Eucharist.
The celebration of bringing someone into full communion with the church does not happen at the Easter Vigil; rather, it can happen at any time during the year at any Sunday Mass. It is most appropriate to celebrate this during the season of Easter. Readiness for reception into full communion in the church is discerned with the RCIA coordinator. Candidates who will be welcomed into full communion at Easter meet along with the elect for the Lenten retreat.
The final period of the RCIA process is Mystagogy—“teaching the sacred mysteries.” The newly baptized (neophytes) and the newly received meet together from Easter until Pentecost to reflect on what they have experienced in order to move forward with meaning and understanding.
CONTACT: Sr. Cathy Vetter 636-225-5268