My situation with RCIA


#1

Good Evening Folks,

I've been in the RCIA process since March including the Inquiry period.

I was baptized in 2011 at the Baptist church I was attending and I've been faithfully attending church for the last 3-4 years (as well being brought up in church...I'm 26). I've studied the word of god and I've prayed a lot about my spiritual journey and I believe God wants me in the Catholic church. I feel very ready to join the church but I have to go through the process and wait until the Easter Vigil. I studied the Catholic faith intensively prior to joining the RCIA group and I have no objections or questions about the faith that are holding me back.

I feel ready but it seems as though the process at our parish is set in stone...everyone goes through the process and everyone get their sacraments at the Easter Vigil.

I love the group and I love sharing and discussing the topics with the other participants but I'm really yearning for the holy Eucharist and confession. I pray for special intentions during communion but it's hard not being able to receive. I attend 3 masses per weekend and I'd love nothing more than to partake in the blessed sacrament.

Should I approach my parish priest and see if he thinks I need to continue through the RCIA process? I don't want to offend the group facilitator but I really don't want to wait another 6 months either.

I would really appreciate some advice on the best way to handle this situation.

Thank You,

EP.


#2

While the Rite does say that baptized Christians need not go through the entire RCIA process and wait until the Easter Vigil to be received into the Church, my experience is that that is the practice at many parishes. You would not be out of line to raise the question politely but you might start with your RCIA facilitator first if you have not done so before approaching the pastor. That would avoid the awkward appearance of going over his/her head.


#3

CCC 1899 The authority required by the moral order derives from God: "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment."17

RCIA is not only about you learning to be Catholic. It is also about the RCIA instructor and the priest seeing a conversion in you. You will demostrate this conversion by obeying your RCIA instructor and the priest in all things.


#4

Bookcat ( a member of the forum) posted a good link this evening about the RCIA process, and it states explicitly that the the process should not be set in stone for baptized Christians, and also that baptized Christians are not to make their profession if faith and be confirmed at the Easter Vigil. I haven't checked its sources, but it seems well annotated so it should point you in the right direction:

catholic.com/documents/how-to-become-a-catholic

You should not have to wait.


#5

I suggest that you should wait it out. RCIA is there to help people decide whether or not Catholicism is for them. It gives the person several months to discern and pray. You are still in the early stages. Wait it out and enjoy the process. Imagine how ready you will be for the Eucharist in Easter. Time will pass by quickly.

SG


#6

Your suggestion to wait it out maybe or may not be good advice, depending on how well the OP has learned the faith and committed himself/herself to the faith. Trusting in what was written, I think it is not necessary. Certainly 3-4 years of preparation should be enough.

RCIA is not for the purpose you describe, at least not for baptized Christians.
It seems to me the rite is being misapplied in this case. But I do not have the authority to decide, her pastor does. She should earnestly implore him for a quicker process IMO.


#7

Michelle Arnold (CAF demi-godess :D) fielded this question:

I was raised Baptist, and when I entered the Catholic Church I did not go through the RCIA program. My priest privately instructed me and then received me into the Church outside of the RCIA process. Am I a Catholic if I didn't go through RCIA?

Answer

Yes, you are indeed a Catholic. Your priest’s method of receiving you into the Church is actually preferred for non-Catholic Christians. RCIA’s primary purpose is to catechize and sacramentally initiate those who are unbaptized. Many parishes lump adult catechumens (non-Christians awaiting baptism), candidates (non-Catholic Christians awaiting confirmation), and adult confirmands (Catholics seeking confirmation) into the same RCIA program for practical reasons. This can be done, but your priest’s method better conforms to the purpose of RCIA.

FWIW, my wife and I were also both received by private instruction with a priest. Because we came from a high-Anglican background, and had both already made extensive study of the Catholic Faith, he was willing to receive us after only three meetings.


#8

[quote="EternalPromises, post:1, topic:342386"]
Good Evening Folks,

I've been in the RCIA process since March including the Inquiry period.

I was baptized in 2011 at the Baptist church I was attending and I've been faithfully attending church for the last 3-4 years (as well being brought up in church...I'm 26). I've studied the word of god and I've prayed a lot about my spiritual journey and I believe God wants me in the Catholic church. I feel very ready to join the church but I have to go through the process and wait until the Easter Vigil. I studied the Catholic faith intensively prior to joining the RCIA group and I have no objections or questions about the faith that are holding me back.

I feel ready but it seems as though the process at our parish is set in stone...everyone goes through the process and everyone get their sacraments at the Easter Vigil.

I love the group and I love sharing and discussing the topics with the other participants but I'm really yearning for the holy Eucharist and confession. I pray for special intentions during communion but it's hard not being able to receive. I attend 3 masses per weekend and I'd love nothing more than to partake in the blessed sacrament.

Should I approach my parish priest and see if he thinks I need to continue through the RCIA process? I don't want to offend the group facilitator but I really don't want to wait another 6 months either.

I would really appreciate some advice on the best way to handle this situation.

Thank You,

EP.

[/quote]

It's like courting before marriage. You know the Church. You love her.

Give her *some time to know *you.


#9

I was in the same boat, as a former Baptist/Evangelical. I had studied the Church pretty thoroughly before deciding to enter RCIA. I attended Mass regularly and attended every RCIA class but I was impatient and wanted the Eucharist so badly. Over time, however, I learned that it was important for me to be humble and obedient and to open myself to the process which Mother Church recommends. I also found that, with my fervor and enthusiasm, I could influence and encourage my fellow RCIA members who weren't quite as learned about the Church or the Sacred Scriptures. After having gone through the entire process and experiencing the stages of the process, the blessings, meeting with the Bishop etc. I wouldn't have traded it for the world and my longing for Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament only increased the rapture and beauty of the Easter Vigil. I truly felt like the Bride St. John of the Cross wrote of in The Spiritual Canticle:

There He gave me His breast;
There He taught me a sweet and living knowledge;
And I gave myself to Him,
Keeping nothing back;
There I promised to be His bride.


#10

I am also a previously baptized convert. On the first evening of RCIA, I asked one of the team members if I had to wait until Easter, even though I was a candidate rather than a catechumen. They said "Yes."

Six months into the process, I decided to ask the RCIA director. She said, "O you can enter the Church at almost any time!" :rolleyes:

Sometimes it just depends on who you ask.


#11

I, too, was a baptized Christian when I started my journey into the Church. I, too, longed for the Eucharist. I, too, wanted to be received before the Easter Vigil. But I can tell you that it was worth the wait. The relationships with my RCIA classmates are worth more than all the gold in the universe, they are very precious to me. Watching their spiritual growth, as well as my own, was what made the wait bearable. It also taught me a measure of patience and obedience.


#12

It sounds like the bottom line is that it couldn't hurt to ask the pastor, but if he decides you should wait, then calmly accept it. Meanwhile you will have all that time to grow in your prayer time and spiritual reading.


#13

[quote="tafan, post:6, topic:342386"]
Your suggestion to wait it out maybe or may not be good advice, depending on how well the OP has learned the faith and committed himself/herself to the faith. Trusting in what was written, I think it is not necessary. Certainly 3-4 years of preparation should be enough.

RCIA is not for the purpose you describe, at least not for baptized Christians.
It seems to me the rite is being misapplied in this case. But I do not have the authority to decide, her pastor does. She should earnestly implore him for a quicker process IMO.

[/quote]

I misread the original post, I had thought the OP had Ben attending masses for 3 years, but now see that is obviously wrong. I was wrong whe saying the OP should not have to wait. Although waiting until the vigil is arbitrary for a candidate, certainly the pastor should prudently decide when the OP should enter into full communion.


#14

Many parishes implement RCIA according to their own rules rather than what is in the rite. RCIA is intended to be flexible, meeting the needs of the specific catechumen or candidate. In many places it is offered simply as a class. You attend for six or eight months and "graduate" by receiving the Sacraments of Initiation.

You can certainly ask to be received into the Church at another time. For those who are already baptized, this is exactly what the rite envisions. Depending on how wedded your RCIA director and pastor are to the classroom/graduation model, they may or may not agree.

I would recommend that you speak first with the RCIA director and then the pastor. In my parish, the pastor wouldn't say yes without consulting with me first about my impressions of the candidate's readiness. If this was the first I was hearing about it, that wouldn't be a good sign.


#15

In parish all the Candidates, Catholics missing Sacraments, and Catechumens went through RCIA together. We all entered the Church and/or were Confirmed at the Easter Vigil. We were informed that was the way it was done.

I found it helps to be part of a group if you are entering in as a Candidate. Your conversion is a process and not a one-time event. The Easter Vigil will come soon. I recommend attending Daily Mass.;)


#16

I am thinking that it would be difficult to have different groups for the several categories that might be involved. For that reason I can understand that pastors want everyone to be together, but to be mindful of the differences. (some need baptism, some just need confirmation, others are lapsed Catholics who need a refresher, etc.)

Meanwhile, they are forming community with each other.


#17

There were nine of us only and I was the only Candidate. I don't think it would have been practical for us to have been divided. As I recall we weren't given course work but were asked what we would like explained. What I found helpful was the attention given us after we were Confirmed. That wouldn't have been done if we weren't part of a group.


#18

I’m an RCIA Candidate and a baptized Christian. The RCIA sessions aren’t just classes to teach you about being Catholic, they are also to make you a member of the parish community – that’s one of the reasons we get sponsors.

As much as I yearn for the Eucharist, I am filled with joy at the thought of becoming a member of the Church at Easter. What better time could there be?

I have gotten hints from our RCIA director that they try to make this a memorable occasion for all the participants.

Good things come to those who wait…


#19

I greatly appreciate all the replies. First and foremost I would certainly obey the guidance of my RCIA facilitator as well as the priest. I can truly say that I love the RCIA group and I really enjoy the discussion. It’s very nice to be able to talk about how much Jesus has done for me and the wonders of his glory.

I may not of explained myself clearly in my OP, I apologize for that, I’ve been attending mass on a regular basis for about a year, prior to that I was attending the Baptist church where I was baptized.

My only complaint is that the process at our parish is not done on a case by case basis and I wish it was. I don’t mean separate groups I mean an evaluation of where your at as a Christian prior to making a decision on whether or not RCIA is necessary. (assuming the inquirer is baptized)

I feel that I am catholic, the conversion process that some of the posters above mention I feel has already taken place. I prayed a lot about becoming catholic and god led me to the church. I was sure about becoming catholic before I started the inquiry sessions. I came to the decision after about a year and a half of prayer and discernment.

On a very positive note my RCIA director was kind enough to invite me into a 34 week retreat based on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius, I’m the only non-Catholic in the group but I truly feel very blessed to be a part of the retreat. Not only does it help me spiritually but it also is helping me to meet fellow parishioners.

I haven’t talked to the director of RCIA yet and I will probably just wait it out, I just wanted to express my feelings and get some feedback.

Again thank you all for the advice.


#20

[quote="SuscipeMeDomine, post:14, topic:342386"]
Many parishes implement RCIA according to their own rules rather than what is in the rite. RCIA is intended to be flexible, meeting the needs of the specific catechumen or candidate. In many places it is offered simply as a class. You attend for six or eight months and "graduate" by receiving the Sacraments of Initiation.

You can certainly ask to be received into the Church at another time. For those who are already baptized, this is exactly what the rite envisions. Depending on how wedded your RCIA director and pastor are to the classroom/graduation model, they may or may not agree.

I would recommend that you speak first with the RCIA director and then the pastor. In my parish, the pastor wouldn't say yes without consulting with me first about my impressions of the candidate's readiness. If this was the first I was hearing about it, that wouldn't be a good sign.

[/quote]

I would add from the U.S. Conference of Bishops, National Statues for the Catechumenate, Nov. 11, 1986 (page 368)

Those who have already been baptized in another Church or ecclesial community should not be treated as catechumens or so designated. Their doctrinal and spiritual preparation for reception into full Catholic communion should be determined according to the individual case, that is, it should depend on the extent to which the baptized person has led a Christian life within a community of faith and been appropriately catechized to deepen his or her inner adherence to the Church" (NSC 30)

Those baptized persons who have lived as Christians and need only instruction in the Catholic tradition and a degree of probation within the Catholic community should not be asked to undergo a full program parallel to the catechumenate" (NSC 31)

"[t]he reception of candidates into the communion of the Catholic Church should ordinarily take place at the Sunday Eucharist of the parish community, in such a way that** it is understood that they are indeed Christian believers who have already shared in the sacramental life of the Church** and are now welcomed into the Catholic Eucharistic community . . . " (NSC 32).

"**It is preferable that reception into full communion not take place at the Easter Vigil **lest there be any confusion of such baptized Christians with the candidates for baptism, possible misunderstanding of or even reflection upon the sacrament of baptism celebrated in another Church or ecclesial community . . . " (NSC 33)

Note that while (NSC 32) states "the reception of candidates into the communion of the Catholic Church should ordinarily take place at the Sunday Eucharist of the parish community" reception can take place during an ordinary weekday Mass, or if necessary even outside of a Mass. I myself was received in a weekday Mass 25 years ago and we have candidates received in daily Mass or Sunday Mass depending on the choice of the candidate in conjunction with our pastor. As noted in the Statutes, the U.S. Conference of Bishops upholds the preference that the Easter Vigil be for the Initiation of the unbaptized, recognizing the dignity of baptism for Christians seeking full reception into the Church.

See these quoted also in the EWTN Library


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.