Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
Jesus Christ is always calling new disciples to follow him and join his Church. When an adult discerns that they are called to be baptized and initiated into the Catholic Church, they begin the journey of RCIA. (The RCIA is also the process by which baptized adults complete their preparation for Confirmation and Eucharist.)
At St. John Neumann Parish, those who believe they are called to join the Catholic Church are asked to contact a member of the Ministry Team at the Parish Office: (570)-344-6159.
A Brief Overview of RCIA
The RCIA follows closely the initiation rites of the early Church. During this time, those preparing to enter the Church learn about Jesus, the story of salvation history, methods of prayer and developing a relationship with God, the moral teachings of the Church, and what it means to be a Christian in the Roman Catholic tradition.
RCIA includes five distinct periods of discernment and preparation:
During Inquiry, individuals who are open to the possibility of becoming Catholic gather to ask questions, inquire about the Christian life, and begin to learn some basic tenants of the faith. This period of Inquiry is reflective and can take as long as the individual needs to prepare their heart for the next step of faith.
Those who feel called to pursue initiation into the Church enter the Catechumenate. As a catechumen (one who is not yet baptized), the individual already has faith in Jesus Christ and is purposely seeking baptism. During the catechumante phase, individuals will attend Mass, break open the Scriptures, and attend catechism classes. They will also continue to undergo conversion and openness to Jesus and the Church.
Purification & Enlightenment
In this stage, during the season of Lent, the Church, through the diocesan bishop, chooses and accepts the candidates. They are now considered the "Elect," for they have been elected by God and now the Church to become fully initiated Christians through the sacraments. This time includes prayer, spiritual renewal, and the "handing on" of the Creed (statement of Faith) and the Lord's Prayer.
Initiation takes place at the Easter Vigil. For forty days during Lent, the unbaptized have been preparing for this liturgy in which the Church remembers the story of salvation history: Creation, God's covenant with the Jewish people, and the redemption won for humanity through Jesus' passion, death, and resurrection. At this liturgy, the "Elect" are baptized, confirmed, and receive Eucharist for the first time. They are now considered full members of the Catholic Church.
The period of mystagogy takes place after the Easter sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist have been received. The "neophytes," that is, new members of the Church, continue to reflect upon the great spiritual gifts they experience now as initiated disciples of Jesus Christ.