Become a Catholic
RCIA in our Community
Becoming Catholic means undertaking a spiritual journey. This will normally take about 12 months depending on the readiness of each individual. It is called Christian Initiation and there are ceremonies or 'Rites' at each stage to mark the steps along the way. The whole journey is called the 'Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults' or RCIA for short.
The journey is a gradual process of realizing God's call and becoming aware of God's presence in your life. This would be series of conversations and it is okay to ask and enquire for more info and clarification at any stage of this journey of initiation into the Christian Catholic faith community.
The beginning of this process is called the Catechumenate. This will ultimately lead you to receive the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Communion. If, however, you have already been baptized in another Christian tradition, you will be following a slightly different process of continuing conversion leading up to Reception (not baptism, in as much as you are already baptized), Confirmation and First Communion.
The culmination of all these preparations is celebrated with the whole community at Mass on the Easter Vigil where you will be receiving the Sacraments of Initiation. It will be a time of great joy for you and your family.
The RCIA programme brings you to becoming part of a community of faith; hence you will be accompanied along the way by members of that community who share with you their own Faith. These accompanying persons compose the RCIA team, and it is their role to assist you in understanding the Scriptures, the practice of worship, and the Sacraments according to the Catholic tradition.
In order to get started: you can call or email the parish office that you are considering becoming a Catholic and thus wish to begin the RCIA journey. (There is no cost attached, and you may withdraw at any point along the journey). The parish office will then put you in touch with the RCIA team to make arrangements to join the programme.
You may wish simply to make enquiries at this stage and you are most welcome to do so.
Lorraine Thalbourne (RCIA Coordinator)
Here is a reflection from a person who made this journey recently.
The Journey of a Catechumen
“Joyful in hope and faithful in service”
I rejected all forms of spirituality in my teens, going on to study Philosophy at University where I tried to analyse the existence of God through logic. This fierce 'scientific' stance persisted right through my adult years. I focused on what I saw to be the shortcomings of organized religion, blaming it for many of the ills in the world; poverty, war, famine. Vehemently independent, I strode through the challenges of life, proud of the fact that I needed no help from anyone.
Then, when I least expected it, I was diagnosed with MS; multiple sclerosis. I was shocked, scared, incredulous and very angry. This couldn't be happening to me, I was a fitness freak, a bodybuilder, a mother in her 50's raising a child more or less on her own.
I realized that I wasn't invincible; I did need help from someone, somewhere. And so began my journey.
I also realized my journey had already begun long before my diagnosis. I had made enquiries some years before, when I was married to a Catholic man, but it all seemed too hard at the time so I didn't pursue it. I had been to Mass many times, two of my children went to Catholic schools, I even sang in the choir of a well-known Catholic church! But I always felt “on the outer”, like I didn't fully belong. I now longed to belong.
I went to see Father Paul to see if it would be possible given my circumstances had changed. He informed me that of course I could “become a Catholic” and gave me details of the RCIA groups that were about to start in his parish. I must say I was astonished at the joy those words gave me.
Discussions began, and right from the start I was made welcome even though I felt as though I knew nothing. Indeed, it was an interesting experience, as a teacher, to have the roles reversed. I had not even been baptised so I had a long way to go. I was determined to put in 100% effort so I did all my “homework”, reflecting on scripture readings and learning a whole new vocabulary; sacraments, liturgy, initiation, confirmation, reconciliation, the list seemed endless! I even started to understand prayer.
I enjoyed the open-ended question/answer structure of the sessions; we were encouraged to reflect ad discuss rather than be told “the right answer”. Much to my surprise, I found myself looking forward to the sessions, and in between, going to Mass and it all starting to make sense. I was starting to feel as though I was part of a community, made possible by God's unending love. The Easter Vigil came at last, along with my baptism, confirmation and communion. What an amazing experience; I really did feel reborn and ready to do God's will in the spirit of Right Judgement and Courage. I am still excited by the question posed at Pentecost, “What sort of a person might I become if I allow myself to be moved by the Holy Spirit?” I am constantly rewarded by using my talents for good.
I now know I have someone to trust, to count on, to be my guide, but above all someone who loves me and will go on loving me: “lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age”.
I am blessed with the love of God, the life of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.