If a person is born and baptized a Catholic, left the Church because of family at young age (before first Confession or Eucharist), and wants to come back, how do they go about this? Does the whole RCIA process need to occur or is there a quicker route?
I think RCIA would be in order. If they left before First Communion, chances are they don't have sufficiant religious formation to enter the Church without any more education. Besides, you'll learn some very valuble things there.
Usually somebody in this situation would go through the whole RCIA process, since they (presumably) did not receive sufficient instruction in the faith earlier-on. At my parish, we also have an 'abbreviated' program for people who already had significant formation in the faith but were never Confirmed, which we use on a case by case basis.
It is the pastor's decision which process is most appropriate in each individual circumstance.
The best way to get started is to make an appointment with the priest at your local parish. He can guide you through and help ensure that you get the appropriate formation before receiving the Sacraments, however much or little you might need, based on your individual needs.
But don't be surprised if he recommends the full RCIA experience. I'm probably biased since I coordinate the RCIA program for my parish, but I think you'll get a lot out of it -- including, hopefully, some followship with others in a similar situation. It depends on the size of the class, but at my parish we usually have at least a couple people who are 'returning' Catholics.
God bless! Best wishes in your journey!
I'm in a similar situation, only I'm missing Confirmation but not the other two sacraments. I've already contacted a local parish's RCIA progam and after talking to the person for a bit, it was agreed that I really should go through RCIA just because there were so many things that I ended up either being taught very wrongly or not at all.
Even though I've picked up quite a bit on my own from lurking about on this site, listening to Q&A radio shows, etc etc... I'm really only getting information that happens to cross my path, so there can still be a lot of things that I am just missing.
I don't think that the RCIA process is a bad thing for that reason and if you're feeling eager to be fully part of the Catholic church, there are things you can do... like find out when your local parish has its RCIA program start up again, read the bible, learn some of the devotional prayers to keep yourself motivated, and certainly keep posting around here. <3
As a current RCIA team member and catechist (and former director), I agree with the previous posters that the RCIA is most likely the best avenue for a baptized Catholic who has, in the words of the US bishops National Statutes, "never received catechetical instruction or been admitted to the sacraments of confirmation and eucharist" p25.
The Rite states that the preparation of such persons should include proper instruction and also participation in certain liturgical ceremonies to strengthen them in Christian life and that for the most part this preparation corresponds to the preparation of unbaptized person wishing to become Catholic, that is, the RCIA. It points out though that this preparation may not always be identical and in fact a distinction must always be made between the unbaptized and those already baptized. (I have paraphrased slightly throughout this paragraph.)
In a nutshell, if you were baptized Catholic but had little or no instruction, RCIA is the place to be even though you may be anxious to move faster. Over the years I have heard any number of such folks say how beneficial it was for them to have gone through the entire RCIA process even though it might not have been their preference when they first began.
I'm nearly finished RCIA for being received into the church. I truly believe that EVERYONE should do RCIA every decade or so. It's tremendous information about faith and what it means to be a Catholic. My husband is a cradle Catholic and so many times he would say "I didn't know that!" when I would mention something from RCIA. It's not just for people who "need their sacraments".