St. Jane Frances de Chantal Roman Catholic Parish, Riviera Beach, MD 8499 Virginia Avenue
Riviera Beach, MD 21122-3097
Parish office: 410-255-4646
Parish fax: 410-437-5191
Religious Ed: 410-255-4646
School: 410-255-4750

How Does a Person Become a Catholic?

The Catholic Church welcomes all adults who are interested in the Roman Catholic Faith. The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is designed to assist you in learning Catholic Christian teaching, in accepting Catholic values and morality, in developing a life of prayer, and in becoming active members of the local faith community.

What is RCIA?

RCIA, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, is the process by which adults become members of the Roman Catholic Church. It is a process of prayer, discussion, study, and celebration for:

  • Unbaptized adults who wish to learn more about the Catholic faith with a possibility of becoming Catholic.
  • Baptized Christians from other denominations who would like to learn more about and possibly join the Catholic Church.

Most members of the Catholic Church were baptized as infants. At an older age, they received their First Communion and were confirmed. Others, those who were previously baptized in other Christian traditions, become Catholics after making a solemn profession of faith, receiving Communion and Confirmation. This can be done at any time of the year, but in imitation of the early Church, it is customary for people to be received into the Church at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday.

St. Jane Frances de ChantalThe word Catechuman refers to a person who has never been baptized. A person who has already been baptized in another Christian denomination, either Protestant or Eastern Orthodox, is called a Candidate.

RCIA is the Church's way of helping people become members of the Roman Catholic Church. It is concerned with the formation of a person into a total understanding and belief in the Church community, so that he or she can comfortably pray and serve with that community. It is a gradual process which culminates with the sacraments of initiation, baptism for those not already baptized, Confirmation, and First Communion at Easter time. This should not be confused with adult education or parish renewal programs. It is a process of assimilating people into a Catholic way of life, by coming to an understanding of the Church and its doctrines, beliefs, and practices. It is not a hurried process, but a deliberate, personal process of growth and understanding that takes as long as it takes. For many, the time is about 12 months; while some will be more comfortable extending that period to one, two, or more years. It is a Parish community process in the sense that the rites or celebrations that occur throughout the process always take place in the presence of the Church community. The preparation of persons for the initiation rites is the responsibility of the entire Parish, represented by the RCIA team.

The process is composed of five stages:

  • The Pre-catechumenate, or inquiry period, consists of informal meetings to explain the process and answer questions about the Roman Catholic Church. This is a time for inquirers to decide whether they wish to continue with the process.
  • At the beginning of the Catechumenate or instruction period (First Sunday in Advent), inquirers are formally welcomed by the Parish community and enter a period of more structured preparation listening to presentations and joining in discussions based on scripture readings and other topics of importance such as the Sacraments, the meaning of the Mass, and Catholic morality and social action.
  • For the Rites of Sending and Election (First Sunday in Lent), the Parish sends the candidates to the Archbishop who, on the part of the entire Catholic Church, accepts the candidates as the "elect" who will be received into the Church at Easter. At this time the Church enters the Lenten period in preparation for the Christ's death, and Resurrection.
  • For the candidates this is a period of spiritual enlightenment and preparation. At the Church's greatest feast, the Vigil of Easter, the "elect" will receive the sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and First Communion) at the Parish Community's greatest liturgical celebration.
  • Mystagogy, the fifty day period between Easter and Pentecost, the new members of the Church community, called neophytes, begin a time of reflection and begin to live out their sacramental call to service.

Why is RCIA important?

The RCIA is important to those considering membership in the Catholic Church because it enables them to begin to learn about the Church as it lives, prays, serves, and worships in a modern world before having to make a commitment to becoming Catholic. It is important to the Parish community because it is a most important aspect of the community's evangelization mission.

RCIA at St. Jane Frances Catholic Parish

Our RCIA group meets on Mondays from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the Muth Room of the lower church. You are welcome regardless of where you might be in your relationship with God.

At the parish of St. Jane Frances, the RCIA Process is directed by a team - Will Rambo, Irene Dunphy, Marylin and John Low, and Hank and Shirley Glass. At present, the team includes other parishioners who are dedicated to their ministry of welcoming new people, sharing their own faith stories as well as the gospel message, and creatively adding the dimension of community to the weekly RCIA sessions.

What we offer is a relaxed, informative atmosphere to those who seek to become members of our Catholic Faith.

New Team Members are Always Welcome!
Seekers of the Catholic Faith are Always Welcome!

Contacting the RCIA Team

If you would like to come and see and perhaps journey with us to a new and deeper love of Jesus, then simply call call the parish office at 410-255-4646.

“Entrust yourself entirely to God. He is a Father, and a most loving Father at that, who would rather let Heaven and earth collapse than abandon anyone who trusted in him.”

St. Paul of the Cross

Related Links:

Archiocese of Baltimore - Becoming Catholic

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