The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is the process through which persons inquire into and determine whether they are called to live out their faith as members of the Roman Catholic Community.
Ready to register yourself or your child(ren) for RCIA?
To register for our RCIA program: RCIA Registration
To register for our RCIA program Adapted for Children of Catechetical Age: RCIA for Children Registration
Want to learn more?
RCIA consists of four periods:
- Inquiry: RCIA begins with a time of questioning and searching for non-Catholics who would like to know more about the Catholic faith. Non-Catholics come with the understanding that there is no obligation to become Catholic. At St. Matthew Parish, inquiry takes place year-round on an as-needed basis, and the agenda is set by the participants. Sessions are held by appointment, usually on Tuesdays, in the Church Undercroft.
- The Catechumenate: After inquiry comes a more structured time of education and faith formation, during which the candidate matures in faith and conversion and deepens his or her commitment to Christ. During this time, the Church provides education, opportunities for faith growth, and support. The catechumenate period begins in September of each year, and generally transitions into the next period at the beginning of Lent.
- Purification and Enlightenment: Next comes a time of spiritual preparation for candidates and catechumens who have decided to enter the Church. This period takes place during the Lenten season and ends on Holy Thursday. Those who are to become fully initiated members of the Catholic Church receive the sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil.
- Mystagogy: Finally, mystagogy is a time of post-baptismal catechesis which focuses on the Eucharistic mysteries. The neophytes deepen their Christian experience and become more integrated into the community of the faithful. The length of mystagogy is from Easter to Pentecost, and throughout all of life.
RCIA is open to any adult who wishes to learn more about the Catholic faith, including those who want to become members of the Catholic Church. Groups typically consist of people who are unbaptized and want to become initiated into the Church, those who were baptized into other Christian faiths and want to become Catholic, and those were baptized Catholic, but have not received the other sacraments of initiation. Also welcome are those who are curious about what Catholics believe and wish to attend for informational purposes only. All are welcome!
RCIA at St. Matthew:
- The catechumenate period of the RCIA process begins in the fall of each year. It moves through the periods of purification and enlightenment and mystagogy, concluding with Pentecost in late spring.
- Sessions are held on Tuesday evenings from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm in the St. Anthony Room of the Church Undercroft. From October until Easter, there are two sessions per week. During that time the participants also meet on Sunday mornings during the 10:00 am mass. For those wishing to become full members of the Church, both the Tuesday and the Sunday sessions are required.
- After Pentecost, the newly initiated meet for one year on a quarterly basis to delve further into the Eucharistic and Easter mysteries.
Free childcare is available for Tuesday night RCIA sessions in the church nurseries for infants and children of all ages. Please mention childcare needs when registering.
For more information on RCIA, contact Jennifer Cabe.
RCIA for Children
Children who have reached the age of reason (usually age 7) who are unbaptized follow the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) for reception of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and First Communion). Children who are baptized in another Christian faith who desire full communion with the Catholic Church are also enrolled in the RCIA process. Classes are held for one school year on Tuesday evenings from 6:00- 8:00 p.m., and the sacraments are usually conferred at the Easter Vigil.
For more information, contact Jennifer Cabe.
Commitments of the RCIA Sponsor
Sponsors are a vital part of the RCIA process. Each candidate and catechumen has a parishioner who walks the faith journey of the RCIA with him or her. Sponsors strengthen the RCIA and the parish community by becoming the personal connection for our candidates and catechumens to the larger church.
To be a sponsor (or godparent) one needs to be a practicing Catholic in good standing with the Church who has already received the sacrament of Confirmation. Sponsors are active, practicing Catholic adults who are members of St. Matthew Church. They are prayerful people who participate in the sacraments and in the liturgical life of the parish. Sponsors are representatives of the Catholic community. They are companions, listeners, and mentors. Sponsors are not teachers or catechists and there is no requirement to “know the answers.” The most important role of sponsors is to be there – to attend RCIA sessions with the candidates and to participate in the Rites with them. Often, sponsors are learning right along with the candidates. Great sponsors are aware of their own needs for faith growth and development.
A sponsor has a privileged opportunity to walk side by side with those who are discerning and preparing to join the Catholic Church. The sponsor’s (or godparent’s) role is primarily to:
- witness their own faith to their designated candidate or catechumen by modeling the Christian life;
- assist them at the weekly sessions and help them get acquainted with Catholic life and practices;
- accompany them every Tuesday and on certain Sundays for special Rites
- give testimony of their candidate’s or catechumen’s readiness to be received into the Church.
Training, assistance, and support is provided all along the way!
Understanding that sponsors may need to miss a few sessions due to illness, family, or work obligations, sponsors must be able to commit to attending (or to supplying a substitute when necessary):
- every Tuesday evening RCIA session
- designated Sunday mornings for the 10am Mass (up to 5 depending on whether the person sponsored is a candidate or a catechumen
- the Rite of Election on the 1st Sunday of Lent in the evening
- all day Holy Saturday (retreat in the morning, followed by rehearsal, and the Easter Vigil in the evening)
- various events during the Easter season (depending on the needs of the catechumen or candidate)
- Neophyte Mass and last RCIA session on Pentecost Sunday
Yes, being an RCIA sponsor is a big commitment! But it is well worth the effort! Former sponsors have these comments to share:
Although I was initially “drafted” as a sponsor, RCIA has been a rewarding experience. Not only have I re-learned my faith, but have also grown in it. My recent candidate’s enthusiasm for the faith challenged me and we grew together. The RCIA experience is a process of mutual growth and I wish every “cradle Catholic” could participate. – Pat Martin
I became a sponsor because I wanted to get more involved in the church and share the joy of my faith with the new members. I was surprised to find that the experience actually strengthened my own faith as I learned more about the church and its teachings. Becoming a sponsor is a very meaningful and worthwhile experience. - Mary Lewis
I have sponsored more than once and each experience has been different. What is always the same though, is the appreciation of the “Christian to be” for my support and presence in his or her journey. Sponsorship has increased my own faith and spirituality. - Carol Ann Lombardi
Sponsoring is a great way to grow in your faith while welcoming others into the Catholic Church. You’ll learn the names and stories behind the faces you see weekly at mass and you will make many new friends in the process. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to discover more about our faith and the wonderful people who make up our St. Matthew family. - Michael Springer
Going through the RCIA sponsor process as a cradle Catholic made me realize all the wonderful teachings and traditions of the church that I had forgotten. It was a great way to renew my faith while becoming more involved in the church. - Mary Gilliland
It was nice to see that people were excited about becoming Catholic. And that they chose it on their own for themselves. I grew more in my faith by being a sponsor. I would do it again in a heartbeat. - Cathy Rose
If you are ready to make the commitment to being an RCIA sponsor or have questions? Contact Jennifer Cabe.