The Church recognizes the importance of this journey of discipleship and strives to provide formation that is equal to the dignity of Christ’s call. At Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, those who wish to inquire about joining the Catholic Church can participate in our program called Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA)--a series of communal prayer and preparation that culminates in the reception of the Sacrament of Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation for those who are unbaptized. This group of adults will be welcomed into full communion in the church at the Easter Vigil. Baptized Christians (including Catholics who have not received all of their Sacraments of Initiation) will receive First Holy Communion and Confirmation, and they will make a Profession of Faith. Here at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, participants meet weekly in addition to regular Mass attendance. These sessions provide a relaxed, informative environment. Sessions begin the first week of September through the fourth week of May. Participants gather from 7:00 - 8:30 pm on Tuesday evening at the Marlo Cuevas Balandran Activity Center.
The RCIA Program is designed for:
- someone who has never been baptized as Christian
- someone who has been baptized in another Christian faith and are now interested in the catholic tradition
- someone who has been baptized in the Catholic tradition, but has not been raised as a Catholic
The RCIA is concerned with complete formation (growth and education) of its participants. It follows these four stages:
Pre - Catechumenate
Phase one is a time of inquiry for individuals to learn more about the Catholic faith. This is done through Catechesis (the oral teaching of Church tradition), Scripture, Prayer, and sharing. During this stage, there is no need to make a commitment of any kind. This is a time for participants to learn, grow and listen to what God is calling them to do.
Phase two - the Catechumenate is a period devoted to formal preparation for full initiation. During this time participants work to gain an understanding of the teachings of the Catholic Church through prayer, practice and education. They also participate in several liturgical rites which are prescribed religious practices and ceremonies.
Purification and Enlightenment
Phase three lasts through Lent and is a time for building strengths and overcoming weaknesses in the faith. This period climaxes at the Easter Vigil (the Mass on the night before Easter Sunday). At the Vigil, participants receive the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. It is at this time that participants come into full Communion with the Roman Catholic Church.
In this fourth and final stage of initiation the newly-initiated, along with the Church around the world, work toward a deeper understanding of Jesus' death and resurrection. It is during this time that the newly initiated reflect on the mysteries they celebrate: sharing the Eucharist, reading and studying God's Word, and participating in Parish programs and ministries.
Over a billion people call the Catholic Church home. We are a diverse collection of races, nationalities, and tongues united together as one in Jesus Christ. Strengthened by the Sacraments, the Word of God, and the ministry of the apostles' successors (the bishops), we strive to put the free gift of mercy and grace we have received from Christ into practice in our lives.
For each of us, the path to accepting new life in Christ has been unique. Some have found their way into the Church walking a 'smooth' road, and for others, the road has seemed long and hard, with many twists and turns. The reality, however, is that it does not matter what you have done or how far away from God you think you are. Christ welcomes you into His Church with open arms. His forgiveness is complete and His mercy lasts forever.