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  #1  
Old Aug 6, '07, 7:44 am
pressingon pressingon is offline
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Question Difference in RCIA for catechumens and candidates?

Hi everyone!

I am a 21 year-old who was raised in a Protestant household. I was baptized as an infant in the same Methodist church that I attended until moving away for college. I went through confirmation classes there when I was 12 and became a member of the church. I never made the effort to find a church to go to here (in the town where my college is), but recently (2 or 3 months ago) began attending Mass and adoration with my best friend and have really fallen in love.

I have been avidly reading and researching everything I can about Catholicism and have been blessed that my parents (both Methodists) are really encouraging me in my journey to strengthen my faith and learn more about Catholic doctrine. My question is, since I have already been baptized, is there a difference between the RCIA classes I would take and the ones offered for unbaptized, new Christians? I know that most RCIA classes begin next month, and I am planning to call the local parish and talk to a priest about this, but I didn't know if it were possible that candidates as opposed to catechumens (if I am using the correct terminology) attended fewer or different classes.

I am feeling more and more led by the Spirit to become a Catholic, but the pressure is on, since I have to decide really soon whether not to enroll in RCIA or wait another entire year... if all RCIA "graduates" become members of the Church at Easter vigil and I don't decide to join an RCIA class this year, I would have to wait until Easter of 2009 to receive the Eucharist! Do candidates not receiving the sacrament of baptism ever become confirmed at a different Mass?

Thanks in advance for your help and advice, and I apologize if any of my terms or assumptions are incorrect. I am continually praying that God will lead me to make the decision that He has planned for me.
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  #2  
Old Aug 6, '07, 8:41 am
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AngelRose81 AngelRose81 is offline
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Default Re: Difference in RCIA for catechumens and candidates?

It may depend on the parish you attend for RCIA. Technically, I belive that there are supposed to be separate classes for those who are baptized and those who aren't (someone please correct if I am wrong!)

However in a lot of parishes, including mine, everyone is in the same RCIA class. Also in our parish, the priest didn't handle the RCIA, our Director of Religious Education did. That's who I made an appiointment with and talked to. If you call your priest, he may direct you to someone else but someone will be able to help you.

As far as whether or not to go ahead and start, it won't hurt to begin RCIA this year. Your first few classes will be the introduction to the faith. The "meat" of RCIA didn't really begin until later in the fall/early the next year. We had several people drop out for whatever reason but that was ok. We just prayed for them and that they would find their way in their own time. No pressure at all to continue if you didn't feel ready in my parish. So, that's just my . I'll be praying for you in whatever decision you make!
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  #3  
Old Aug 6, '07, 9:12 am
RichT RichT is offline
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Default Re: Difference in RCIA for catechumens and candidates?

In the parish I was at when I went through RCIA, we were taught together, but the cat's were seperated for special teachings on baptism. In many parishes, the candidate can be confirmed in a shorter amount of time, providing there are no obstacles like a previous marriage that needs an annulment. I was confirmed 6 months after starting the process. I also stayed in RCIA for several more months to further my knowledge of the catholic faith. Keep in mind that some RCIA teachers will require you attend inquiry classes and that you discern a little before entering the formal RCIA process, so don't wait to make that call!
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Old Aug 6, '07, 11:57 am
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JohnnyReb JohnnyReb is offline
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Default Re: Difference in RCIA for catechumens and candidates?

Let me chime in because my situation is very similar to yours. I have been a devout Pentecostal for over eight years (I'm 26 now).

I am enrolled in RCIA which begins august 30 in my parish. I have been attending Mass on a regular basis since May. My decision to convert is not set in stone, but I know that I am dissatisfied with Pentecostalism and find that I have a Catholic mindset. The more I read, study and attend Mass, the more satisfying I find the Catholic faith to be. I am getting flack from family, friends and church members for my decision, but others are supportive.

It does not hurt to sign up. The first part of RCIA is designed, so it seems, to help you inquire about the faith and discern your decision to convert. I can't go any further in my journey or decision making process until I begin the inquiry phase.
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Old Aug 6, '07, 12:04 pm
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AngelRose81 AngelRose81 is offline
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Default Re: Difference in RCIA for catechumens and candidates?

Oh, and don't forget that if you decide to sign up for RCIA, if some of your questions don't get answered or you need some more explanation of anything...these forums are awesome!!!!!

There were lots of times when I needed to know something that couldn't be answered in my RCIA either because it wasn't covered or no one knew the answer to but I was always able to find out from the great people here at CAF . And each time I went back to my RCIA class and told them what I found out the were really grateful!
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Old Aug 6, '07, 12:20 pm
pressingon pressingon is offline
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Default Re: Difference in RCIA for catechumens and candidates?

Thanks for all the info, everyone. I was also wondering if it was traditional for RCIA candidates who won't be baptized to be confirmed at a different Mass than the catechumens... or if that differs from one parish to the next?
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  #7  
Old Aug 6, '07, 12:45 pm
Andruschak Andruschak is offline
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Unhappy Re: Difference in RCIA for catechumens and candidates?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pressingon View Post
Thanks for all the info, everyone. I was also wondering if it was traditional for RCIA candidates who won't be baptized to be confirmed at a different Mass than the catechumens... or if that differs from one parish to the next?

The United States Council of Bishops does want candidates to be confirmed at a seperate mass from the catecumans. Rarely happens in real life.
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  #8  
Old Aug 6, '07, 1:41 pm
RichT RichT is offline
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Default Re: Difference in RCIA for catechumens and candidates?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pressingon View Post
Thanks for all the info, everyone. I was also wondering if it was traditional for RCIA candidates who won't be baptized to be confirmed at a different Mass than the catechumens... or if that differs from one parish to the next?
This will vary. When I went through, there were two groups of candidates confirmed in that same year. All the catechumens went through during the Easter Vigil.
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  #9  
Old Aug 6, '07, 5:17 pm
Br. Rich SFO Br. Rich SFO is offline
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Default Re: Difference in RCIA for catechumens and candidates?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pressingon View Post
Hi everyone!

I am a 21 year-old who was raised in a Protestant household. I was baptized as an infant in the same Methodist church that I attended until moving away for college. I went through confirmation classes there when I was 12 and became a member of the church. I never made the effort to find a church to go to here (in the town where my college is), but recently (2 or 3 months ago) began attending Mass and adoration with my best friend and have really fallen in love.

I have been avidly reading and researching everything I can about Catholicism and have been blessed that my parents (both Methodists) are really encouraging me in my journey to strengthen my faith and learn more about Catholic doctrine. My question is, since I have already been baptized, is there a difference between the RCIA classes I would take and the ones offered for unbaptized, new Christians? I know that most RCIA classes begin next month, and I am planning to call the local parish and talk to a priest about this, but I didn't know if it were possible that candidates as opposed to catechumens (if I am using the correct terminology) attended fewer or different classes.

I am feeling more and more led by the Spirit to become a Catholic, but the pressure is on, since I have to decide really soon whether not to enroll in RCIA or wait another entire year... if all RCIA "graduates" become members of the Church at Easter vigil and I don't decide to join an RCIA class this year, I would have to wait until Easter of 2009 to receive the Eucharist! Do candidates not receiving the sacrament of baptism ever become confirmed at a different Mass?

Thanks in advance for your help and advice, and I apologize if any of my terms or assumptions are incorrect. I am continually praying that God will lead me to make the decision that He has planned for me.
There should be a great difference between they processes for an unbaptized person and a Bpatized Christian seeking full communion with the Catholic Church. An unbaptized person is expected to attend for at least one full liturgical year. A Candidate will take from 4 to 8 maybe 10 months if necessary. An already Baptized Christian may attend the full Mass (without receiving Holy Communion) a unbaptized person should be dismissed to study the word of God during the liturgy of the Eucharist. Candidates should not be received and confirmed at the Easter Vigil, unless that is truly necessary.
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  #10  
Old Aug 6, '07, 5:37 pm
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: Difference in RCIA for catechumens and candidates?

short answer: it depends on your parish, how many candidates (already baptized like yourself) and how many catechumens (never been baptized) they have, how many people they have to teach the classes and lead the scripture studies, and their philosophy of RCIA. Some of us believe it makes sense to combine people who are different stages of the journey in one class which continues year-round and where people can join at any time, jump of and jump back on if they need to, and finish at different times. It seems often those with more scriptural knowledge, like many Protestants in the class, help those with less, and those harder more grueling conversion stories witness to others. The important thing is that this is more than a class, it is a process that takes place within a community, and becoming part of a community is as important as learning doctrine.

Don't wait to make that call, some classes have already started (we start Sunday) because Easter is early this year. As to when non-Catholic baptized Christians are received into the Church it depends on the bishop. He may reserve their confirmation to himself, or he may delegate it to parish priests. He may give that permission for Easter only, or at other times during the year.

As I say, make that call, ask your questions, and keep asking questions until you understand the process.

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  #11  
Old Aug 6, '07, 5:52 pm
kettle kettle is offline
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Default Re: Difference in RCIA for catechumens and candidates?

Oh please call right away!!!

My husband and I are both Baptized, like you, and have been in the Inquiry Sessions of RCIA since June. It is so much more than "just a class"... we are becoming a rather tight-knit group, and I could see us becoming a very special family as we get further along in the RCIA process together.

I hope you'll find your RCIA group to be as special as ours.
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  #12  
Old Aug 7, '07, 6:01 am
quiet52 quiet52 is offline
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Default Re: Difference in RCIA for catechumens and candidates?

Pressingon, you are an "inquirer" in the "Evangelization and Precatechumenate" period. No one is required to commit to Catholicism when they join the catechumenal process, or at any point during the process. The Church requires that you be adequately prepared before receiving the sacraments of initiation (which are Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist, but if you have been validly baptized, you cannot be re-baptized.

As other posters have stated, the RCIA is a "process" -- not a series of classes from which people "graduate" -- none of us graduate, until we reach the pearly gates. When you receive the sacraments of initiation, you will be beginning your journey as a Catholic Christian, not "graduating." You will not learn everything there is to know during RCIA -- hopefully the "adventure" will continue with zeal.

RCIA involves liturgical involvement, catechesis (instruction in the faith, ways of worship, and Christian lifestyle), and pastoral help (from your sponsor, RCIA team, and parish.

When unbaptized inquirers are ready to commit to a period of intense catechesis, there is a liturgical rite (during a mass) called the Rite of Acceptance. This Rite serves as the gateway to the "Period of the Catechumenate" during which they will be called catechumens. This is a period of conversion of heart and action, as well as intense study.

When baptized inquirers are ready to commit to intense catechesis, the liturgical rite is called the Rite of Welcoming. Sometimes the two rites are combined during one mass. As they enter the Period of the Catechumenate, the baptized will be called candidates for full communion or completion of initiation (c. for full communion for baptized non-Catholics, and c. for full initiation for baptized Catholics).

The next period of the process, the Period of Purification and Enlightenment, begins on the First Sunday of Lent. Catechesis continues, but the participants commit to a more spiritually intense period as they prepare for the sacraments. The catechumens who are ready will participate in the "Rite of Sending" during a mass in their parish. Usually, they are "sent" by the parish (which attests to the formation and readiness of the catechumens thus far in the process) to the cathedral later that day, to a liturgy (not a mass) presided by the bishop, called the "Rite of Election." The catechumens are presented to the bishop. I won't go into detail, but the catechumens are declared to be members of the elect, to be "initiated into the sacred mysteries at the next Eager Vigil" and they are now called the "elect."

(Usually) on the First Sunday of Lent the candidates participate in the "Rite of the Call to Continuing Conversion" (usually) during mass -- sometimes in the parish, and sometimes in the cathedral, depending on the number of people. They are still candidates. Sometimes there is a combined Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion.

There are other minor liturgical rites during this period -- on the Second Sunday of Lent, the candidates celebrate the Penitential Rite. The elect celebrate the Scrutinies on the Third, Fourth and Fifth Sundays of Lent. There are other "minor" rites which are optional.

After the Baptismal, Confirmation and Eucharistic rites are celebrated, the new Catholics are called "neophytes" as they enter into the formal period of Mystagogy for a year. Actually, all Catholics are journeying in mystagogy -- applying the mysteries of our faith to our everyday lives -- until we're no longer here physically.

As for the length of the RCIA process -- it can be a different amount of time for each individual, because we all have different journeys. Ideally, parishes are to encourage year-round participation. Practically, however, most parishes lack the resources to do this, but will hopefully at least welcome inquirers year-round, leading them in "breaking open the Word," while scheduling faith-topic sessions during a 6-8 month period.

It's a pastoral decision as to whether the candidates are fully initiated with the elect during the Easter Vigil mass. It depends on the number of people involved and the capacity of the parish.
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Old Aug 7, '07, 6:44 am
pressingon pressingon is offline
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Default Re: Difference in RCIA for catechumens and candidates?

Quote:
Originally Posted by quiet52 View Post
As other posters have stated, the RCIA is a "process" -- not a series of classes from which people "graduate" -- none of us graduate, until we reach the pearly gates. When you receive the sacraments of initiation, you will be beginning your journey as a Catholic Christian, not "graduating." You will not learn everything there is to know during RCIA -- hopefully the "adventure" will continue with zeal.
.
I understand... I just phrased it wrong. I'm not expecting to learn everything there is to know, and I realize that I used the wrong term. I called the deacon in charge of RCIA yesterday and left a voicemail, and attempted again this morning, but couldn't reach him. Hopefully I'll hear a response soon! I went to Adoration last night and spent the entire hour in such happiness about everything God is unfolding in front of me.
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  #14  
Old Aug 7, '07, 9:20 am
pressingon pressingon is offline
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Smile Re: Difference in RCIA for catechumens and candidates?

Update: 8/7/07, 12:18PM...

I spoke to the deacon at the parish where I will be enrolled in RCIA, and he is mailing me a registration form today! Classes are going to be held twice a week (Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings after 8:30 Mass) and will end on December 16... I wonder what that means for Confirmation and first Communion?
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Old Aug 7, '07, 9:31 am
jc-servant jc-servant is offline
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Default Re: Difference in RCIA for catechumens and candidates?

pressingon,

I encourage you to enjoy the journey of RCIA if you can and not worry so much about how long it takes even if you are baptized. I went through the whole process with catechumens (Sept-Easter Vigil) and we helped each other along the way. It was great to listen to questions that others raised and to have input from various sponsors in smaller discussion groups after each lecture. Even if your program does not use the small group discussions, you can organize a few people to go for coffee or something once per week to discuss.

I still consider the people from RCIA as my "first family" within my parish family. It was a great time to take the journey with others and to grow in faith together no matter what point we were at when the year began. My parish keeps the whole group together most of the time because of the large numbers involved and the ability to provide better resources to one group rather than two or more. They do offer a very short course for Catholics who just need confirmation as adults, but I think those people might need the longer instruction in some cases more than a convert from a Protestant church.
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