RCIA for active Christians

It seems odd to me that in many posts about RCIA, committed Christians are being asked to follow a full program as if they were catechumens (not baptized.) It seems to me that the type of candidates (baptized seeking intitiation into the Catholic Church) who are posting on this forum are often dedicated Christians who are already actively studying the Catholic faith on their own. For these type of people, a full RCIA program is not necessary nor required:

According to the National Statutes for the Catechumenate #31:

“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.”

In our RCIA we have some baptized & active Christians who want to spend a lot of time with us learning since we have a solid catechesis on Thursday nights, but we have others who have been studying on their own who will be with us only for this time of assessment, probation, and purification before they are confirmed and receive the Holy Eucharist. (of course, one way we determine if they are ready is if they are willing to submit their readiness to our prayerful consideration)

THE RCIA IS A PROCESS, NOT A PROGRAM! It is a beautiful, individual work of the Holy Spirit that lasts a few months for some and many years for others.

In Christ,


When I was first inspired to seek the Catholic Church, I pointed out NSC 31 to my Roman Catholic parish Priest. I know that he is a very good Priest (a RC Priest who used to be a seminary dean wrote me some very nice words about him). My parish Priest had a copy of the NSC on or near his desk, but he said they don’t go by it. And he was unaware of any Church in the diocese that went by it either.

I do suppose that one of the biggest problems in the Roman Catholic Church is insufficient discipleship. So I think having everyone go through the full RCIA program is a good idea. Perhaps it is time for the US Bishops to re-write a new NSC. However, I think there is so much else on their minds. It seems to me that there is no inconsistency between what is going on in good parishes and the will of the Church.

And if some drop out after a few months of enthusiasm, at least they were only in RCIA instead of dropping away from the Catholic Church. Think about the potential problems with annulments following those who may have “been Catholic” for only a month or two. Isn’t it far better that those who become Roman Catholic (Full Communion) must first continuously want to be Catholic for a period of months (almost a year)?

Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Some may suppose (as I did) – what if I die while I am in RCIA? I won’t have been a Catholic yet (not having communion). I am greatly comforted in this. That we are as newborn babes in Christ. We are not yet capable of being morally responsible for decisions regarding properly taking Holy Communion. Perhaps even properly going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation is beyond my present capacity. Yet we are capable of getting blessings. And we can learn to use sacramentals (rosary, holy water, etc.). So for me, this is an exciting time. And I am convinced that our Lord tenderly cares for us during this time. The very first beatitude greets us the very moment that we genuinely seek God in His Church – that cannot merely be a coincidence. God was so mindful in writing the Bible; most Psalms are well-planned, poetic and acrostic (in Hebrew). If we die while we are seeking Christ (before or during RCIA), I think Jesus understands and is mindful of us. I think as long as we (in RCIA) die while walking towards Him (not walking away from Him), then He will show us mercy.

I studied a lot on my own, was a baptized Christian and saw no need to go through a ‘class’. However I was joining the church on my own. I had no Catholic friends…I didn’t even know someone well enough to ask them to be my sponser. The teachers had to appoint someone for me. RICA introduced me to a ‘core’ group of Catholics who are now my friends in the church community. Even if it means no more tha nodding to someone as they come in to celebrate mass…I found it a great way to make friends.

dream wanderer

see related comments on thread on RCIA and early dismissal

A lot of the problem is related the the larger problem Catholic parishes have finding people to teach the faith–to those wishing to join the church, to young adults, teens, other adults, children, people with disabilities, you name it. We are not getting the message that our baptism requires us to share and pass on our faith, and that it is a duty in justice for the parish to provide for the Christian formation of all who approach her.

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