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'RCIA' - The 'Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults'

also known as the 'Journey in Faith' - information with related useful links

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The Holy Family Parish welcomes enquiries from anyone wanting to know more about the Roman Catholic Church's Christian faith. Please contact Fr. Philip

The RCIA programme usually runs from October until Pentecost, see newsletter announcements.
We welcome and ask your prayers for those taking part. Do let us know if you are interested smiley icon
At times a separate 'confirmation' class is available.

Interested adults who want to learn more and possibly to join the church later, can enter a liturgical and catechetical process of evangelisation and formation called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults or 'RCIA', also known as the 'Journey in Faith'. 

This enables inquirers to explore the rich depth of Catholicism in a friendly, relaxed environment and if desired eventually, to be welcomed into full communion with the Catholic community of faith. The programme usually runs from Autumn to Easter, the highlight of the Christian year and the traditional time for initiating new Christians, concluding at Pentecost. You can also take a longer time if you wish, there is no pressure.smiley icon

Becoming a Catholic is not just a matter of learning about and accepting a number of beliefs, it is a period of personal growth and ongoing conversion as a Christian while developing a personal relationship with Jesus, as well as growing into a particular community or parish. The RCIA process provides an opportunity to learn without commitment and is also suitable for Catholics who wish to deepen their understanding of the faith. 

Some who participate are Christians by virtue of their Baptism in another denomination. Adults who are baptised Catholics but were never confirmed or seldom practice their faith are also most welcome. We are often joined by parishioners seeking to explore their own continuing journey in faith in greater detail and share their experiences.

Enquirers discuss aspects of the Christian faith and learn more about Catholic life, in a supportive environment with Catechists and parishioners, many of whom have themselves been through the RCIA. For those already baptised, the process leads to reception into the Church, Confirmation and Eucharist (Holy Communion). Those not yet baptised receive all three Sacraments – Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. In previous years the process was called the Catechumenate and the person joining the Church was called a Catechumen. RCIA has its roots in the earliest evangelisation of the Church by the Apostles 2000 years ago and in Jesus’ call to all of us to preach the “Good News” to all men and women.

The RCIA process is composed of four steps. [for a highly detailed description see the Wikipedia article in the external links list below]

  • The Inquiry or Precatechumenate stage is a period of hearing the first preaching of the Gospel. This stage ends with the Rite of Acceptance, a rite where the person making the inquiry states his or her desire to enter the church to the entire community.

  • The Catechumenate stage is set aside for a more thorough catechesis, instruction on the Sacraments and other church teachings. This stage ends with the Rite of Election, a rite where the catechumens sign the Book of the Elect which is then signed by the Bishop. This takes place in our Cathedral in Plymouth during Lent.

  • The period of Purification and Enlightenment is designed for a more intense spiritual preparation, consisting of more interior reflection than catechetical instruction. This stage includes the celebration of the scrutinies, which are rituals where the entire community prays over those wishing to enter the church that they deepen their resolve to set aside their past faults and sins, hold fast to Christ and to carry out their decision to love God above all. This period concludes with the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation - Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist, usually at our Easter Holy Saturday Vigil Service.

  • Mystagogy (Mystagogia). From the Greek for "education in the mysteries" or "going deeper into the mysteries" or a "pathway into the mysteries". This is a period for the newly received Catholic (Neophyte) to deepen their Christian formation and understanding of their new faith & the mysteries of the Sacraments of Initiation. Also for incorporation into the full life of the community, learning more about the different ministries in their parish and deciding how they want to more fully live out their faith. This is usually during the 50 days from Easter to Pentecost and is just the start of a new and personal journey with the gift of faith, over the rest of one's lifetime. read more using links below [In our faith ‘mystery’ is not a puzzle that cannot be solved. It is a truth that is so deep that we know we’ll never be able to get to the bottom of it; a truth we’ll never completely be able to understand.]

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last updated 2023 (links) v 5.30 ~ ê¿ê

Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?”. They said to him, “Rabbi, where are you staying?”. He said to them, “Come and you will see.” John 1:38-39

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