Finally ready for RCIA but wondering if it's too late


#1

Hi, everyone. This is my first post here, and I’m very hopeful that you can advise me.

Long story short, I was raised in an evangelical church that felt Catholicism was not real Christianity and provided encouragement in my faith by my wonderful parents, though I increasingly found myself wanting to go deeper. In college, I took a series of medieval history classes that inspired in me a new understanding and true appreciation of Catholicism. I felt a persistent desire to experience Mass for myself that would not go away and finally took the plunge a few years later. Since last November, I’ve been attending Mass weekly, sometimes twice weekly, and reading as much about the faith as possible. Lately, the yearning to participate fully in the beauty of what’s happening before me has overwhelmed me, and I’ve decided I can’t ignore the enduring call of my heart any longer. I need to be part of the Church.

While I was raised with firm faith in Christ and studied Scripture extensively growing up, my church did not see baptism as a necessity, and I keenly feel my unbaptized state each day. It seems that the Church–and rightly so–tends to encourage the unbaptized to take RCIA at a more measured pace, and I’ve missed at least the first few weeks of the sessions my local parishes offer. I know there’s no certainty outside of an answer from a pastor, but do those of you with RCIA leadership experience know if there’s a designated point/rule of thumb at which it’s too late for inquirers to join classes in preparation for the upcoming Easter Vigil? If I already have missed it, of course I’m not going to let that stop me from continuing my study and entering in 2019, but I’m hopeful that I might still have a chance.

Thank you for any advice you might be able to offer! I hope I’ve posted this in the right section.


#2

Speak with the Priest or RCIA Director. My Parish still accepting Candidates & Catechumens into the program.


#3

It all depends on how a particular parish implements RCIA. The rite says that catechumens, those seeking baptism, should spend one full year in preparation while those already baptized should face no more burden than necessary before being received into the Church. Few parishes follow this and tend to put everyone together for a few months of preparation and call it a day. So you’ll need to check with your local parish to see what they do.


#4

Definitely ask your pastor. If he seems either willing or wavering, let him know you would be amenable to a member of the RCIA team (if your parish has one) to “tutor” you to bring you up to speed and catch up with the “class” I was on the RCIA team at a parish for years and was always willing to work with someone who came late to the program. MY pastor there had no problem with that. Try it, he can only say no. Remember, "seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you.
And PRAY. Ask for the intervention of the great teachers/saints of the church.


#5

Hi, Stella!

My heart goes to you!

I’m fully ignorant—yet, if you are a good-study, I think that you can make up for any missed material by crunching down on the particulars that you’ve missed. Make sure that your local parish Priest understand this (as well as the RCIA instructor).

My prayers are with you.

Welcome Home!

Maran atha!

Angel


#6

Hello, you are very much correct in understanding Baptism is so absolutely necessary, many of my evangelical friends do not realize Baptism makes you born again, but in the Catholic faith, it’s so important that in cases where it’s a last resort, it doesn’t even have to be performed by a priest or clergy.

Now of course if your evangelical church already baptized you, you won’t have to be baptized again in the Catholic Church, it’s done one time if properly done. As long as your church baptized you in the Trnitarian formula, Father, Son Holy Spirit, then of course you are already a Christian in the Catholic Church’s eyes. Baptism and the Trinity is something very special we share with all of Christianity , and it so happens to be of the most important teaching of our faith.

My parish is still accepting applications for RCIA, so it will vary with parishes. You have a good background in Scriptures and some history from school, that should put you ahead of most, so maybe you’re not too late at all. Be blessed whenever you enter, and if you do, please share the gifts of the faith with others. God Bless.


#7

The RCIA programme I attended was very flexible - I was in Italy for long periods and missed a number of sessions, one man was working away from home every week and so the priest saw him individually.

That particular man wasn’t baptised (the rest of us were), and so at the Easter Vigil he was also baptised. This is in the UK, by the way.


#8

We’d allow you to join if you were in our Parish.
As SD says…the Period of Discernment can vary widely from 6 weeks to an entire year.
Frankly, the 2 year model of RCIA is the best. Call around. Even if you have to go to a nearby parish, it’s worth it!

Welcome home. You will be in our prayers, rest assured of THAT.
~Clare


#9

Wow! Thank you all so much for your kind, thoughtful, and supportive answers and promises of prayer. There are a few individual responses I’d like to make later after work, but I did want to let you all know right away that, with your encouragement, I’m going to reach out to the two parishes I’ve been attending and see what their pastors say. Please pray for me that I’ll have the courage to actually do it, as I’m quite shy!


#10

Prayers for you, stellamaris. May you find the courage you need to make those calls and may your journey into the Church be a joyous one.


#11

Hi, Stella!

Remember what Jesus told His Apostles… not to worry about the defense they would present when brought to trials; just let the Holy Spirit Guide you–confide not on your own abilities but in His Ability to secure your Path into the Fullness of Faith!

Maran atha!

Angel


#12

Easter April 1, 2018 is still 6 months away. Give your story, about your study to this point, to your local parish pastor. See if he thinks there is still time for you to catch up on what has already transpired in the classes so far.

Prayers ascending for you on your journey.
:love_you_gesture::smiley:

It’s almost welcome home time


#13

Yes. It should depend on where you are in your journey of faith, and hopefully your parish takes that into account.

One evening, the week of Thankgiving in 2010, after considerable discernment and self catechesis, I visited my parish to find out about RCIA. I began classes the first week in December, and my pastor received me into full communion with the Church at a Saturday morning mass in February, the week before Ash Wednesday, so I live Lent as a Catholic with my wife, who I credited with steering me to the Church, even though it took 33 years of Marriage.

I continued attending RCIA through the end of the course (at Pentecost), and the following September I joined the RCIA, where I have served ever since.


#14

I just went to my first RCIA session 4 days ago. It was the third meeting but it wasn’t too late.


#15

The rite says that catechumens, those seeking baptism, should spend one full year in preparation while those already baptized should face no more burden than necessary before being received into the Church. Few parishes follow this and tend to put everyone together for a few months of preparation and call it a day. So you’ll need to check with your local parish to see what they do.

I appreciate that you clarified this! My understanding was that the one-year minimum period was the norm, but after reading a few different parish bulletins, it sounds like all of the parishes locally do their RCIA programs from autumn through spring only. I’ll have to see if I get a different answer when I get a response to my inquiry.

Many sincere thanks for your kind words here, as well!


#16

Hello, you are very much correct in understanding Baptism is so absolutely necessary, many of my evangelical friends do not realize Baptism makes you born again, but in the Catholic faith, it’s so important that in cases where it’s a last resort, it doesn’t even have to be performed by a priest or clergy.

The realization of this has been such a big part in helping me to draw closer to the Catholic Church. I wish my former church had been more willing to stand their ground about baptism rather than saying “Oh, it’s encouraged.”

Now of course if your evangelical church already baptized you, you won’t have to be baptized again in the Catholic Church, it’s done one time if properly done. As long as your church baptized you in the Trnitarian formula, Father, Son Holy Spirit, then of course you are already a Christian in the Catholic Church’s eyes. Baptism and the Trinity is something very special we share with all of Christianity , and it so happens to be of the most important teaching of our faith.

Unfortunately, my evangelical church was almost restrictive in who had the opportunity to be baptized. I’m truly looking forward to finally receiving baptism!


#17

These were just the words I needed to hear today in particular. I thank you and praise God!

And I apologize to all of you in general for bombarding you with replies, as a pop-up just warned me that I should hold back. I hope you’ll forgive me; I’m still learning the ropes! :slight_smile:


#18

I’m not sure the non-Catholic churches really have much of a choice on the matter since if they state that baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation, then they automatically accept Catholic doctrine to be true, and undermine their entire religion. I was always shocked to find out that Baptist do not believe baptism saves you. I mean the entire faith is named after baptism, at least I think it is. Almost like saying an American doesn’t believe in America :slight_smile:

It’s not a small matter. I always believe even if a church could be wrong on certain matters. It should never be wrong when the matter involves the salvation of your soul. As I mentioned in other threads. The teaching on divorce/remarriage is a perfect example, as well as the teaching that not all sins are equally the same .

I have more evangelical friends than Catholic friends. At every opportunity I warn them out of deep concern . Honestly, I believe they would be better Catholics than many Catholics I know, I love how devoted and loyal they are to living their faith. At the same time, good intentions do not correct serious errors in doctrine and teachings. Hopefully you can also reach your evangelical friends and be the bridge between both faiths. God will be pleased


#19

Hi, Stella!

I love it when Scriptures hit us right where and when we need them. I Pray the Holy Spirit for His Guidance so that I can be instrumental in my Faith and in the lives of others.

Thank you for your kind and generous words.

…as for replies… I think that there are glitches with the server… but that one I have not received… and I post quite frequently when I’m on line… so don’t be discouraged!

Maran atha!

Angel


#20

Hi, Catholicos!

Yeah, there’s that dance thing that they do… they can recognize it in the Sadducees and Pharisees; yet, they do not connect it to themselves… it is that spirit of autonomy… as long as that’s what they believe it is correct and they will look up Scriptural proof and ignore Scriptures as necessary to remain in their belief.

You do well to share the Faith with them; please, also pray that the Holy Spirit Brings them to the Fullness of the Faith.

Maran atha!

Angel


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