RCIA and "discernment"

I have finally decided to come into full communion with the Catholic Church a few months back, and am beginning the RCIA process here in September. I am very well catechized already according to my RCIA coordinator, and am a baptized Christian. I am also the first person to begin RCIA at my local parish here and so last month I started meeting with the RCIA coordinator once a week for instruction. Well, I’m just more or less curious whether or not I will be able to be received into the church come Easter Vigil, and if that is my choice or someone else’s. My catechist, the Rcia coordinator, makes this sound like a tryout. He keeps telling me not to get the ahead of myself and makes it almost seem like he’s trying to push me away like I am unworthy of becoming Catholic. Every time I ask questions about receiving certain Rites when the time comes, he tells me “we’ll see,” after I “discern” certain things. I feel like someone else is in control of me finding my way to the Truth and becoming apart of that, when this should be my choice. It’s like I have to “prove” myself, be stigmatized or something for this to happen. I don’t want to go through all of this for him to tell me in 10 months that I cannot be confirmed this year and then have to wait til the following year or more, and this is really bothering me.

Zach,
I wish I had some advice right now, but I don’t. If I think of something later, I will re-post to you. I wanted to congratulate you on your Faith Journey to the Catholic Church. Since I have not participated in RCIA, I don’t know how it works. You might also try posting this to the Traditional Catholic forum if you don’t get much response here.

God bless you and keep you!

I’m guessing this is the year-round process?

This is what I hated about the year-round process - I’m glad to be going back to the Scholastic method, It’s way easier; the dates are set and the Rites are received “ready or not” and we teach them directly instead of hoping for them to discern.

RCIA doesn’t have a fixed length of time, especially for those who are already baptized. (Many parishes, however, give it a fixed length of time which is not ideal.)

For someone who is baptized it’s a question of when you are ready. That could potentially be a few weeks, few months, or few years. RCIA should get you to the point where you can make this profession of faith and mean it: I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.

All I can recommend is that you talk with the RCIA director and let him/her know of your concerns. My usual answer to someone asking me this sort of thing is that I can’t give an exact answer but I think they’re well on their way (or I have concerns in a certain area or whatever the answer might be). We never make baptized candidates wait until Easter so if they are ready in January or July or September that’s when they are received into the Church. If your parish has everyone celebrate the sacraments at the Easter Vigil my assumption would be that they plan that everyone will do it at that time whether or not they are ready.

You also have the option of going to the pastor, though I think most pastors would tell you to talk with the RCIA director.

From what I gather, they catechize both catechumen and candidates the same exact way and I don’t think I will be treated any different even though I’m already a baptized Christian. I am not really sure if they even actually know that there are candidates and that there are also catechumen and that…like…there’s a difference and that I would fall under the former…Maybe I’m overthinking things and he just wants me to be patient, which I can understand, but sometimes I wonder. I just want to make sure that first, God is in control, and second that I am, as this is my soul ultimately. For another to tell me he has to “discern,” I feel like he is judge and jury of whether or not I’ll ever be worthy and it doesn’t sit well with me. I really feel like there’s something more that I’m supposed to be doing or something he expects of me, yet he wont tell me what this “discerning” process means, and changes the subject when I mention it. And if I’m not confirmed by Easter, every parish around here seems to do RCIA the same way, I’d essentially have to wait another whole year until I make the cut it seems.

I believe it would be the Scholastic method being that it begins in September, receive Sacraments at Easter Vigil, and ends at Pentecost after Mystagogy. How do we discern Rites? If I’m wanting to come into full communion, and have a solid understanding and faith in those Rites, doesn’t that mean that I’ve discerned them?

For the Rite of Welcome, the candidate has developed a personal prayer life and is at least memorizing the prayers of the Mass and the Rosary, if he hasn’t already memorized them. He can recount the Gospel coherently in his own words, and is excited about the story of Jesus. He can name the parts and the furnishings of the Church, has a sense of the hierarchy, and knows his own priest. He attends Mass regularly, and has begun to make friends in the parish; at least one of his friends is willing to be his sponsor. He has no canonical impediments.

With the Scholastic Method, the Rite of Welcome will take place on December 1st. You have lots of time. :slight_smile:

I know the feeling. I’ve been in and out of RCIA programs and they can be a real test of ones patience and charity towards others. Some are just horrible. I pray yours will be a very good experience for you, even if it has a frustrating start. My problem was not getting someone to “approve” me, but rather getting my marriage situation regularized. (So my fault not anyone else’s) but I’ve been involved with three different programs over the course of 5 years) and every time I moved it was like starting all over. No one seemed to care the level of catechis we had already had, and as far as distinguishing between candidates and catechumen, well that only mattered for getting the rites right. I had an annulment to get processed and told each one this when I started, but never got any help really setting up the appointment with the priest, was always told we had plenty of time to get it done, and that they would talk to someone about it…blah blah blah, never happened.

DO NOT let this get you discouraged, don’t quit! Ask about being accepted early. Don’t beat around the bush when “discerning” comes up…let them know that you have studied and understand the churches teaching and are whole heartedly ready to be in full communion, don’t understate the amount of study you have done or your commitment.

But be humble too. You can learn a lot from the meetings, especially if you take the extra effort to “dig deeper”. Its hard to be patient, I KNOW, but the RCIA leaders do this every year, and its a long game for them…You’ll be hard pressed to get one to “sprint” with you so early in, what for them is a long haul race with Easter as the finish line. But I wouldn’t be scared to disscuss all of this with them, or your deacon, or pastor. The more involved you are, the better. Take responsibility for your own course, but don’t be demanding, don’t step on toes either. Its a delicate balancing game. Play it by ear. Pray.

On a side note, my new RCIA program starts in August! I’m so excited, but of course I’m due on Aug 12, so I’m sure I’ll be missing a few of the first meetings. I’ve tried to contact the RCIA leader by phone several times, each time leaving a message, just to touch base, let her know I’ll be coming, maybe get any materials ahead of time, and find out if the details are set (day/time) but she won’t call me back! Patience. Patience.

This Easter IS my year…I keep telling myself that! I hope its yours too, if not before Easter!

Wow, I’m sorry that you’ve had to wait all this time, I pray that this is your year as well. I appreciate the advice you have given me, as I don’t really know others who are or have done this before. By the way, I am married also, to a Protestant. My pastor has told me that my marriage will be fine to be blessed in the church, but I’m confused as to when this happens…is it after I’ve already been received into the church and done communion/confirmation or after I’m a member of the Church?

Before that happens I mean.

RCIA for me was an exercise in patience, and I was glad for it.

When we went through rites involving the Bishop, I saw how large an effort was being coordinated among all parishes.

God bless you on your journey.

If there are no marriage irregularities (in other words, this is the first marriage for both you and your spouse, or previous spouses have died), then you and your spouse already have a valid marriage. If both of you are baptized, then it is also a sacramental marriage, no matter where you two were married. There is no requirement for a “blessing” in this case, but many new Catholics ask for one anyway.

So – you can have receive the blessing at any time – just schedule it with the pastor! I’ve never seen it done during the same Mass people are confirmed / receive first Eucharist though.

Discernment is a sort of prayerful reflection/decision-making process. If the person ready to move to the next stage of things? What kind of growth and development are we seeing? It’s nothing to be afraid of. What I consistently find is that about the point the RCIA team starts thinking that a particular person might be ready, the person is also coming to me and saying “I think I’m ready to move forward.”

The question is whether your marriage is valid or not. If this is the first marriage for each of you and neither of you were Catholic at the time of your marriage, it is probably completely valid and you don’t need to do anything.

If there are previous marriages or if either of you were Catholic and you were not married in the Church, that would need to be resolved before you are received into the Church.

Ah ok, that makes sense regarding my marriage, my wife and I were both baptized Protestants at our time of marriage and have never been married before. And I appreciate all the help everyone has given me as far as RCIA goes, a lot of these things were never really explained to me in the beginning. It’s good to know that as long as I can honestly and wholeheartedly profess my faith that I do have a say in it. I just need to be open minded and patient with the whole process, which I’m sure a lot of converts can attest to it being difficult when you recognize the truth but must wait for it to come.

When I was beginning to enter the Church, I was initially told (on Catholic Answers, I think) that as a Candidate, I could receive Confirmation at almost any time, provided that I could convince someone in charge that I was ready. Then, when I registered in RCIA, I was told that I would need to be in formation for a whole year before Confirmation. In the first class, I asked a member of the “RCIA team” if I had to wait until the Easter Vigil even though I was already baptised, and they said, “Yes, Candidates have to wait too.” Then, about seven or eight months through the program, I brought up the subject again (to the RCIA coordinator this time), and she said “Oh, you could have come into full communion at almost any time!” :stuck_out_tongue:

So it might pay to ask more than one person, if possible.

Ask directly about this. If there was a Declaration of Nullity involved, or if either of you have ever been Catholic, then this needs to happen first, before any Rites can take place.

=Zach1788;10940996]I have finally decided to come into full communion with the Catholic Church a few months back, and am beginning the RCIA process here in September. I am very well catechized already according to my RCIA coordinator, and am a baptized Christian. I am also the first person to begin RCIA at my local parish here and so last month I started meeting with the RCIA coordinator once a week for instruction. Well, I’m just more or less curious whether or not I will be able to be received into the church come Easter Vigil, and if that is my choice or someone else’s. My catechist, the Rcia coordinator, makes this sound like a tryout. He keeps telling me not to get the ahead of myself and makes it almost seem like he’s trying to push me away like I am unworthy of becoming Catholic. Every time I ask questions about receiving certain Rites when the time comes, he tells me “we’ll see,” after I “discern” certain things. I feel like someone else is in control of me finding my way to the Truth and becoming apart of that, when this should be my choice. It’s like I have to “prove” myself, be stigmatized or something for this to happen. I don’t want to go through all of this for him to tell me in 10 months that I cannot be confirmed this year and then have to wait til the following year or more, and this is really bothering me.

Hi Zach!

As a now retired RCIA instructor, I THINK your reading too much into what is being said?

One of the responsibilities of the RCIA instructor is to determine if you are sufficiently knowledgeable about the Catholic Faith to make a commitment?

The “Rites” are pre-programed and set to a schedule that is not arbitrary, so don’t get too worked up about it.:slight_smile: What is critical now is that you comprehend and accept 2,000 years of Catholic Doctrines and Dogmas that you will be asked to commit too.

Understand ALSO that knowing “the bible” IS NOT knowing the Catholic Faith; even though MUCH of our beliefs are contained therein. Protestants are taught very MANY wrong things about the CC, faith, & salvation. The Instructor must correct and affirm right understanding. That is his GRAVE moral obligation to you; to God and to the Catholic Church.

ASK many questions but do NOT presume to know the answers.:slight_smile:

If you have further questions PLEASE CALL on ME through the PM system offered by CAF.

God Bless you,
Patrick
PJM here on CAF

Part of the Director’s job is to push and probe and make sure that you understand the commitment you are making in becoming a Roman Catholic.

Some people do take the classes, then decide that the timing isn’t right for them to convert.

It annoyed me when my director would say, “you can always choose not to join the church this year” because it took me awhile to decide to take the class in the first place. I was ready to make the commitment, but RCIA helped me understand more about what the commitments actually were.

A lot of it is proving to yourself that you are ready to make the commitment to fulfill the obligations of living a Catholic life. Waiting does get frustrating. However, if you are committed to becoming Catholic, Easter Vigil will come soon enough for you.

IMHO, this part of the church really needs a bit of attention. Priests need to be made aware that when some one decides to become a Catholic…it is never done on a whim. The Catholic faith is probably one of the most misunderstood and despised organizations amongst the public and many of the other religions. The media paints all Priests as being pedophiles and the whole celibacy thing as just not normal. Praying to Mary and views on contraceptives…Why would any one want to move from a fairly liberal Christian way of life, to be branded with the Catholic stigma of a church, that is out dated and out of touch with today’s modern world.
Yet they come…Often well versed in the Scriptures…They are called to the church and to Christ. The Catholic faith will fill in the gaps and these people will become some of the most devoted Catholics the church could ever hope to have in their parishes. They were blind and now see…and see with such clarity.
It always astounds me that the cradle Catholics take all that they have virtually inherited for granted. Not many hoops to jump through here. Go through the motions and you’re in. The Catholic schools are full of Catholics that you would be lucky to find at a Sunday Mass. No families and no kids. Catholic in name only.
Yet the person who is called is viewed with suspicion and greeted with such lethargy…where’s the excitement, the enthusiasm…a sheep was lost and now is found.
I’ve been through the process and I can say that for the most part it lacked direction. The process should have been one of amazement and a thirst for that which I did not know. The one great thing that I was introduced to was the writings of Scott Hahn. Here is a well versed Protestant…a studied Protestant, who became a Catholic. His writings are from this perspective and his excitement in discovering the secrets of the scriptures and that there was only one church supporting his findings were inspiring. The gifts that were there in the Catholic church for us. Gifts from God…Gifts for us.
It was love!..Church sacraments validating a Christ that loves and forgives.

This was such a change from Protestant teachings of fear, hell and punishment.

Priests have a responsibility to ensure that when God finds one of his lost sheep, that the priest is the good shepherd who rejoices at its return. Don’t put obstacles in the way. Such obstacles will come with being a Catholic in today’s modern world.

=HandyAndy;10996899]IMHO, this part of the church really needs a bit of attention. Priests need to be made aware that when some one decides to become a Catholic…it is never done on a whim. The Catholic faith is probably one of the most misunderstood and despised organizations amongst the public and many of the other religions. The media paints all Priests as being pedophiles and the whole celibacy thing as just not normal. Praying to Mary and views on contraceptives…Why would any one want to move from a fairly liberal Christian way of life, to be branded with the Catholic stigma of a church, that is out dated and out of touch with today’s modern world.
Yet they come…Often well versed in the Scriptures…They are called to the church and to Christ. The Catholic faith will fill in the gaps and these people will become some of the most devoted Catholics the church could ever hope to have in their parishes. They were blind and now see…and see with such clarity.
It always astounds me that the cradle Catholics take all that they have virtually inherited for granted. Not many hoops to jump through here. Go through the motions and you’re in. The Catholic schools are full of Catholics that you would be lucky to find at a Sunday Mass. No families and no kids. Catholic in name only.
Yet the person who is called is viewed with suspicion and greeted with such lethargy…where’s the excitement, the enthusiasm…a sheep was lost and now is found.
I’ve been through the process and I can say that for the most part it lacked direction. The process should have been one of amazement and a thirst for that which I did not know. The one great thing that I was introduced to was the writings of Scott Hahn. Here is a well versed Protestant…a studied Protestant, who became a Catholic. His writings are from this perspective and his excitement in discovering the secrets of the scriptures and that there was only one church supporting his findings were inspiring. The gifts that were there in the Catholic church for us. Gifts from God…Gifts for us.
It was love!..Church sacraments validating a Christ that loves and forgives.

This was such a change from Protestant teachings of fear, hell and punishment.

Priests have a responsibility to ensure that when God finds one of his lost sheep, that the priest is the good shepherd who rejoices at its return. Don’t put obstacles in the way. Such obstacles will come with being a Catholic in today’s modern world.

AWESOME POST!

I agree with much of what you shared but would caution you on generalities.:slight_smile:

As a Life Long Roman Catholic who has been VERY actice in the Church for more than thirty years [3 years with RCIA] before my retirement; but still VERY active with a e-mailed FREE OF ALL COST course on our Catholic Faith; I can attest for alot of enthuisism and also MY EXPERIENCE with priest has never been one of larthargy. NOT always the priority I THING New Catholics deserve, but always supportive.:slight_smile:

WOULD you Please eloborate on the “Obstacles” you mention. :slight_smile:

God Bless you, and WELCOME HOME!

Patrick
PJM here on CAF

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