How do RCIA classes work?


#1

I’m a Mormon who plans on attending RCIA classes to better understand the Catholic faith while maintaining my own faith and continued participation in believing in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because my fiance’s family is Catholic and I want to understand the Catholic faith better.

I called the local parish by where I live and I’m going to be contacted soon about what time, and the man on the phone also suggested that I meet with the priest there, in which I plan on doing. They told me that the classes start in September, I think, and I want to be respectful in saying that I don’t intend on becoming a Catholic. I’m just wanting to learn more about the church.

If anyone has any advice, please let me know. I’d love to know how the RCIA classes work and I really hope they call me back soon! If possible, if anyone could provide links that talk about the RCIA classes, I’d appreciate that.


#2

It depends on a parish-by-parish basis, really.

Some use Symbolon from Formed.org (basically Catholic Netflix, check it out), others do a more traditional lecture-based method…


#3

I don’t know about anywhere else, but in our parish you would be heartily welcomed to sit in on our sessions. We present Catholicism. Only Catholicism. We don’t do compare/contrast with other traditions. We don’t in any way bash others. Please go, and learn what we are about.


#4

That sounds a lot like the parish that I’m going to start checking out. I had emailed them and they said that I’m more than welcome to come in, and sit in.


#5

RCIA typically runs from September to Easter. My wife converted between 2014 to 2015, and I was invited to a portion of the classes (I was a lapsed Catholic at the time, but I was interested). The program can vary from Church to Church, so nothing here is set in stone, but they would meet every Sunday. We’d go to the 9:30AM mass. The catechumen and candidates going through RCIA were dismissed at about halfway through mass, after the readings but before the liturgy of the Eucharist started. They would then have a private session for faith sharing. I did not join in that portion as I was a full, if lapsed, Catholic. They would be in faith sharing from about 10ish to 11AM. I think there was a lot of discussion about personal experiences here. After that, they opened up the class for Catechesis, which was a very broad and high level class on the Catholic Faith. It’s not a philosophy or theology class. It’s not rigorous. It’s more of a simple presentation of what the Church teaches and believes, including some doctrines or dogmas that non-Catholic Christians might not really be familiar with. There was discussion during it, too.

There was a retreat during Advent, just before Christmas. There was another retreat during Lent. These were one-day affairs. Nothing overnight.

As Easter approached there were some rites they went through, from being presented to the parish to being presented to the Bishop. Kind of being as presented as ready for conversion. If you did not intend to convert, you wouldn’t participate in these rites and “scrutinies”. Then during Easter Vigil the catechumen were baptized and all the adults received both confirmation and first communion.


#6

Thank you. I imagine that I won’t be judged for choosing not to join after I finish the RCIA classes.


#7

People will be people.

You shouldn’t be judged, and they will know going in that you didn’t start intending to convert anyway.


#8

AS @Wesrock said, people will be people. Catholic, LDS, Protestant; any one person can be judgmental, but the priest and staff surely should not judge you, especially when you are communicating your reason for wanting to attend.

I have been a lifelong Catholic, and have attended RCIA; partly to give support, partly to enhance my own knowledge. There have been people that I believe were in situations similar to yours and they were welcomed.


#9

You should not be judged for any choice you make - Having gone through our course in 2016/2017 I now help out with our RCIA and our Deacon always stresses that _even_if you have got to the rehearsal for the Easter Vigil Mass you can still change your mind if you don’t feel ready (although it’s possibly not a good idea to make a run for it just as you are called to the font for baptism LOL!).

It helps to communicate how you feel and your intentions at the beginning and during the course (which you are doing) to whomever is leading your sessions but your decision is your own - nobody should pressurise you one way or the other. Enjoy your classes!


#10

I feel much better about attending the RCIA classes now and I’m not worried about judgment.


#11

Do you have links that you could post that talks more about RCIA?


#12

On a similar thread just a few days ago, @Horton posted this comment, which gives a clear and unmistakable answer to your question:


#13

At present I don’t know of any specific online RCIA resources. I used to look myself before I attended classes, hoping I could do all the studying on line and skip straight to asking a priest for reception and confirmation - but it doesn’t really work like that as the whole point, for those with the intent to become Catholic, is that you are joining a church comprised of people, and you should meet and be in communion with them in the church. So there’s all sorts you can learn about the faith, but there are no official ‘published’ distance learning classes that I know about. I’ve heard there’s some informative short Youtube videos and amateur videos of local classes but I would suggest these two books as a starter for 10…

Compendium of the Catechism (UK link)

Catholicism for Dummies (UK Link)

These are the topic headers from our course in case you want to try some speculative Youtube searching but don’t substitute it for the real thing!..

The Meaning of Life
Creation and Fall
Salvation History
The Incarnation
The Life of Christ
The Paschal Mystery
The Trinity
The Church
Scripture and Tradition
Mary and the Four Last Things
Liturgy and Sacraments
Baptism and Confirmation
The Eucharist
Reconciliation and Anointing
The Practice of Confession
Moral Action
Marriage and Holy Orders
The Life of Prayers
Praying the Mass
Christian Life in the World
The Lord’s Prayer


#14

Thanks. That should help me out.


#15

How often do you have converts that don’t follow the standard Sep - Easter model.

As a baptized Christian who was basically raised in the church, one turn off that I have is having to commit to a 7 month class that I believe will most likely be a 90% course in much that I’ve already known and gone through already.

That, and I’m not interested in “faith sharing” or any other forced type group activities…hearing that is a huge turn off.

Personally, if I’d ever decide to convert I wouldn’t want to do it at Easter Vigil…does being received always require some sort of “special” Mass. If I come in, I’d rather just show up on a Saturday night or a Sunday and just participate with the rest of my family. Being required to come in at Easter Vigil and be “singled out” in front of the parish is actually kind of a turn off too.


#16

I haven’t been around long enough to know whether we have had already baptised Christians who have followed a different path to reception in our Diocese. I know RCIA isn’t mandatory in this case and reception at another time is possible but you would need to get advice from your local priest. TBH I already knew much of what was included in our RCIA course but I think that would be more likely with those specifically motivated by the desire to convert.
We were in double figures at our cathedral…I can see how it could be more intimidating if you were the only one but it would also be such a special moment. :blush:


#17

PS…on our course it was mini-presentations from the Deacon and questions and answers as people felt the need; aside from an initial introductions session and a weekly opening and closing prayer there was no enforced group activity or faith sharing…and if it isn’t for you then you can leave at any time and return as often as you wish.
I initially wanted, and may have even been able, to take the shortcut, but I’m glad I didn’t.


#18

Eh…see that’s the thing…I wouldn’t see it that way. I had my special moment @19 when I was baptized. If I were to ever convert I wouldn’t want any type of pomp and circumstance, I wouldn’t invite family, want a reception, etc… I’d just want to be accepted in…one Sunday I’m not Catholic…the next I am. Only difference would be now I can go up to communion with the rest of my family.


#19

Here is one place with a lot of RCIA materials to read through:

The site is geared more towards those who are responsible for running RCIA in a parish, but perhaps there are some items that might be of use for you.

As has been said, every parish is a little different. In general, any RCIA program should give you a good overview of the basics: Creed, Sacraments, Morality, Prayer.

And I concur that you should be welcomed. I’m in charge of RCIA at my parish and I always emphasize from the beginning that no one is making a firm commitment to become Catholic right from the outset. It’s a process. So even if you’re just coming to learn, then that’s fine.


#20

Side note: my parish will be using a new program this fall called Credo. It is put out by the Thomistic Institute (Dominicans for the win :innocent: )


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