Wednesday, March 17, 2004


I attended my first RCIA informal, pre-catechumenate meeting last night. (See the table down below for what lies ahead. There's a large white gap for some reason, but scroll on down). Catechesis means "instruction." The meeting lasted about an hour and a half and was very informal. They were expecting 10 or so people, but only three of us showed up. Myself and a young husband and wife. The wife is already Catholic, the husband is a mix of Baptist, Pentacostal and Catholic. The wife was married before, has two kids from that marriage, and her ex had the marriage annulled in the Catholic church. The woman and her husband are both the product of broken homes themselves. The wife was baptized Catholic and had her 1st communion, but was not confirmed. The husband was never baptized, but wants to be. This is the husband's only marriage. They have traveled a lot with his job.

The same three women have been running this Pre-Catechumenate class for 15 years. One woman is nearing her Doctorate in Theology (which is impressive). One woman is a widow who joined the Catholic Church when she married her husband. And the last woman is a friendly Catholic mother of four. They were very nice.

We all shared our faith journey and talked about the past and about Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ."

Some of the questions and answers I remember:

Q: What's the position of the church? Do the unbaptized end up in hell?
A: We don't presume to know who ends up in hell and who doesn't. We believe that when you die, you are given a choice to accept God or reject Him. Who is the worst person you can think of, say Hitler, we don't presume to know if even Hitler went to hell. Many people never had the opportunity to be baptized, but God knows their hearts and it is their hearts that matters.

Q: Do we have to go to confession or is it voluntary?
A: You have to go if you have sinned in a way that comes between you and God. Confession has changed a lot, no longer does the Father just give you three Hail Mary's and three Lord's Prayers to say. If you have wronged someone, the Father will tell you to set it right. It's a great load off, it's wonderful therapy. It's not as hard as it sounds, it's a wonderful thing to have another human being touch you and say you are forgiven.

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
(Scroll Down to See the Table)

Description Rites Aim Name Content Time
1st Period Pre-Catechumenate None Awakening of Faith Inquirers or Candidates (Baptized or
Time to build trust, share personal stories
and questions of meaning. Time to proclaim message of salvation and
foster initial conversation. Introduction to parish.
1st Stage Celebration of the Rite of
Acceptance into the Order of the Catechumens and of the Rite of Welcoming
Baptized but Uncatechized Adults who seek to complete their Christian
2nd Period Catechumenate

and Catechetical

Celebrations of Word; Minor exorcisms and
blessings, (optional: Presentation of Creed and Lord's Prayer)
Deepening initial conversion and passing on
Church Tradition
Catechumens (Unbaptized)

Candidates (Baptized)
Time to deepen faith/conversion within the
living community through:

- Catechesis

- Fellowship

- Prayer/Worship

- Introduction of Apostolic life.
One to a few years
2nd Stage Celebration of the Rite of
Election of Catechumens and of the Call to Continuing Conversion of
Candidates who seek to complete their Christian Initiation.
3rd Period Purification and

Scrutinies (Elect) and Sacrament of
Reconciliation (Candidates). Presentation of Creed & Lord's Prayer.
Eliminate what is weak and sinful. Affirm
what is holy.


Candidates (Baptized)
Preparation for Easter Sacraments. Time of
recollection. Lenten Retreat.
3rd Stage Celebration at the Easter Vigil
of the Sacraments of Initiation (Unbaptized) and of the Reception into
Full Communion of the Catholic Church, Confirmation and First Eucharist
4th Period Mystagogia Sunday Eucharist

Anniversary celebration.
Celebration of faith and sharing of faith in
Neophytes Deepening of sacramental life with emphasis
on Gospel, Eucharist and mission.
Paschal Time plus one year

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