Becoming Catholic

The process of becoming Catholic as an adult is called RCIA – the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.  RCIA is all about conversion – about growth and change taking place in our hearts and minds so that we can more fully live in relationship with God and one another.

We are all on a journey. We each come with different experiences of life, faith and religion. Your thoughts about starting this process might range from “Great! Let’s get started!” to “Gee, is this really for me?” Wherever you are on that spectrum, we at St. Francis Xavier parish are excited about your interest, and look forward to walking with you as you explore how God is inviting you into a deeper relationship.

Goals of RCIA

RCIA is about strengthening our faith, and exploring what belief in God means in our everyday lives. The purpose of this process is not to complete a class requirement or to see how much information you can learn about the Catholic Church.  Rather, RCIA is designed to help deepen your faith in God, and make you a stronger disciple of Christ.

A note for those unsure about beginning the RCIA journey

The process of becoming Catholic is definitely a commitment of time and energy, but each Easter we hear participants say it was time well spent and the months really flew by. We strive to give you the experiences and tools you need to make this commitment of faith and keep it.

If you are unsure this is the right step for you, know that we certainly welcome those who are still exploring. RCIA at its best helps people find their way on their spiritual journey. If, during the process, you feel this isn’t the right fit for you, or the right time, that is okay, too.

 

The 2017 season will begin Tuesday, September 19, and will be hosted most Tuesday evenings through April, 2018. We will also gather on some Sunday mornings throughout the season.  The sacraments will take place at the Easter Vigil, March 31, 2018.   Please connect with Kate to discuss your interest.

Please read below to learn more. For further information, please contact Kate DeVries,  Pastoral Associate, at 708-352-0168 or kdevries@sfxlg.org.   To begin the RCIA process, please contact Kate to set up an initial meeting.  The process is shaped by the needs, questions, and goals of participants, and we want to support your journey.

Who participates in RCIA?

1.  Unbaptized Adults

The RCIA is primarily intended for unbaptized adults, who, upon hearing the Gospel message and receiving formation in the Christian way of life, choose to become followers of Christ by receiving the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.

2.  Adults Baptized as Christians

The RCIA process also serves adults baptized in a Christian denomination or community who are now interested in living out their Christian life in the Catholic Church. Any baptism that has been performed with water and the Trinitarian formula (invoking the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is considered valid; therefore baptism is not repeated. Rather, we welcome these men and women into the full communion of the Catholic Church through their profession of faith and reception of the remaining sacraments of initiation: Confirmation and Eucharist.

3.  Adults Baptized Catholic

From time to time the RCIA includes adults who were baptized in the Catholic faith, but did not grow up practicing this faith or receiving regular formation or additional sacraments. While already a part of the full communion of the Catholic Church due to their Catholic baptism, these men and women are seeking to complete their sacraments of initiation with the celebration of Confirmation and Eucharist.

What is involved in RCIA?  When does it start?

RCIA is comprised of a series of stages of formation (each with a slightly different focus) that are marked by ritual steps transitioning a person from one stage to the next.

Our journey begins Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.  During this stage, we meet most Tuesday evenings from 7-8:30 pm, to begin to reflect on how God is calling us and what it means to have faith in Jesus. There is plenty of time to ask questions and discern if this is the right step for you.

On November 5, we celebrate our first ritual which publicly marks our desire to officially enter formation for initiation into the Catholic Church. This ritual moves us into our second stage of formation. We reflect deeply on the Sunday scripture, and examine related Catholic beliefs, teachings, customs and traditions.

At the beginning of Lent (the 40 days prior to Easter, which begins with Ash Wednesdy on Feb. 14), we celebrate another ritual to recognize our progress of being formed in the faith and signals our readiness to begin final preparations for receiving the sacraments. This third period of formation, which coincides with the season of Lent, is more reflective and prayerful, including many special celebrations and rituals passed down from the early Church.

We celebrate the Sacraments and our full initiation into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil Service (after sundown on Holy Saturday – the evening before Easter Sunday)! However, this is not the end, but rather the beginning of your life as a fully initiated disciple! We continue to meet for a fourth stage of formation, gathering a few times during the Easter Season (the 50 days after Easter) to help launch us into the next step of our faith journey and the rest of our lives as Catholic disciples of Christ.

Where are the RCIA sessions held?

St. Francis Xavier Parish co-hosts the RCIA Process with St. Cletus Parish in LaGrange, and St. John of the Cross Parish in Western Springs.  This collaboration enriches the process, strengthens the number of participants, and exposes participants to a greater variety of voices, experiences, and gifts.  A schedule of dates, places, and times will be distributed, along with directions to each site.  Majority of the Tuesday evening sessions, and the Sunday experiences will take place at St. Francis Xavier Church.

Click for the RCIA Schedule of dates and topics.

What’s Next?

Contact Kate DeVries – phone: 708-352-0168 to express your interest and schedule the initial meeting.

Questions? Want to talk about this process more?

Contact Kate DeVries –  708-352-0168 or kdevries@sfxlg.org.