RCIA/full liturgical year mandatory?

Hello all,
When coming into the church for the first time as an adult is RCIA mandatory? I’m currently LDS and have to stay that way for the time being for family (wife) reasons. One day I hope that my wife can see clear to allow me to exercise my conscience and become Catholic. Is it necessary to take a whole year before entering the church.

Thanks!

It is very important to go through RCIA to understand, to the best of your ability, the Catholic faith and what it means to be Catholic.

Even if a priest would allow it, I don’t think it is wise to not go through RCIA. You need that foundation.

Welcome! :slight_smile:

Yes it is. I’m on a RCIA team, if I can be of help let me know.:thumbsup:

Ah a Catholic in UT! Thats the place that I first TRIED to leave the LDS church. I went to the Episcopal church though at that point. Got transferred down for work and realized the church wasn’t true.

A year in the catechumenate is what the rite calls for. Most of the parishes in my area truncate that. They start Inquiry in August or September, have the Rite of Acceptance into the catechumenate around the beginning of December, and then baptize at the Easter Vigil. The whole process ends up being about 9 months and the catechumenate itself is about 4 months of that.

Most of the time it’s about 9 months. It is required because it does not make sense to have members come into the church and not know what the Catholic Faith is about. This way you know what is expected of you and what to expect from the Church and the Faith.

The Catholic church has such a rich history and depth of tradition that it’s essential to have a basic education in Catholicism. By time you finish RCIA you basically will have a solid foundation on the Faith. This way we know that the new members we welcome into the Church have everthing the need to be faithful Catholics.

The requirements for RCIA are set by the diocese. The priest can make adjustments based on the situation and readiness of the person seeking to enter the Church. There is no hard and fast rule that it must be for a full year or even that you must go through a formal RCIA process. The most common around here, as far as I have seen, is a modified “school year” starting in August and ending with the Easter Vigil.

the catechumenate, the longest period of the RCIA process, which is doctrine instruction and formation based on the scripture, especially the Sunday gospel readings, should last not less than one calendar year, that is, one liturgical cycle, from Lent or Easter to the beginning of Lent the following year. The period before that, pre-evangelization or “inquiry” which is what it says, a time to ask questions, get answers, find out what is needed, if there are marriage and family issues to be addressed, and coming to the point where one asks to be accepted as a catechumen (one who is preparing for baptism) can take a week, a month, or years for some people. The shortest period coincides with Lent preceding the Easter when one will be received into the Church, called Purification and Enlightenment, which is a good description and is the most intense spiritual preparation for baptism. After Easter the newly baptized (called neophytes, which is Greek for “newbie”) participate in Mystagogy, or “study of the mysteries” for no less than 50 days or 7 weeks at least until Pentecost, preferably longer. That is because spiritually and psychologically people don’t really know what happened until after it happens, and need time to reflect on the immense changes they have experienced and to have support from the parish for the challenges and questions they face in their first months and years at Catholics.

very little about RCIA is “mandatory” but it is very carefully thought out with the wisdom and experience of Holy Mother Church and every part and process is there for a reason.

In my experience the people who need to longest time to answer their questions and overcome obstacles are not those with no religious background at all. Rather, they are people coming from a very strong faith tradition of their own, and the most resistant, or who have the hardest time and face the most obstacles are Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and Jews. After that are those who were in leadership in their own denominations or even ministry, especially Pentecostals, Evangelicals or any very fundamentalist denomination.

RCIA takes as long as it takes for you.

It’s interesting how you naturally assume that the “pentecostals”, evangelicals, or anyone with a "fundamentalist " background will be the ones who need the most extensive preparation process to enter the church.

Very offensive.

I do not make assumptions, as I said, I was reporting on what I have experienced in working with RCIA for over 25 years. As with any statistic, a general statement is never applicable to all individuals in all cases. And I did not mean by “facing obstacles and needing extensive preparation” any negative judgement against an individual but a simple statement of fact. If I said a person with little background in Math or one who was taught math differently than will be taught in college, will therefore need more preparation and face more obstacles in becoming a scientist or engineer would you interpret that as a moral or value judgment against that individual, or a negative personal comment? Then why would you automatically interpet as offensive a simple observation that someone who has a lot of information that runs contrary to Catholic teaching that they will want to question and explain will require additional time to thoroughly explore those issues?

How can it possibly be offensive to relate experience?

I’m not so sure all RCIA programs are so well structured.

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In my experience the people who need to longest time to answer their questions and overcome obstacles are not those with no religious background at all. Rather, they are people coming from a very strong faith tradition of their own, and the most resistant, or who have the hardest time and face the most obstacles are Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and Jews. After that are those who were in leadership in their own denominations or even ministry, especially Pentecostals, Evangelicals or any very fundamentalist denomination.

I can personally say Amen to that!

I agree with Annie on this.

I’m not sure i’d have used the word “extensive” but I think that sometimes Catholic concepts are much more hard to accept for those brought up fundamentalist. If you take someone with a fundamental background and another person who was non-religious before it’s a difference of starting with a whole book of text versus a blank page. Both people are perfectly capable of grasping everything but sometimes people’s previously learn theology can make things harder.

The same would probably be the case of a Catholic converting to Evangelicalsim. It’s not an insult just the facts: some fundamentalist (particularly those well studied in that style of theology) will probably find some aspects of the Catholic Faith very hard to get over when compared to others.

The local Latin parish in my area, a very rural area, has been starting it`s RCIA around mid to late October. So depending on when Easter falls in any given year the preperation time is about five or six months.

By taking a longer time to overcome obstacles, I do not necessarily mean a candidate lacks knowledge and understanding, in many cases, especially their scriptural knowledge, they exceed the average Catholic. By obstacles I mean not only difficulties understanding and accepting points of doctrine, but among the groups I cited come the most heart-wrenching family conflicts and opposition which become the biggest barriers to their progress. OP hints at that in his story, read it again.

Rebecca,

It’s not offensive at all. You know evangelicals number one tend to get Biblical instruction starting as a young child. I don’t know if your church had children memorize verses in Sunday school. Also, in my experience, we tend to believe that Catholics are in error and we are told why:

Mary
Praying to the Saints
Statues
Legalistic (Works)
Purgatory
Confession (one mediator between God and man)
etc, etc

I had always believed Catholics were in error when it came to those doctrines and there were times I believed that they were not “saved” and were probably going to hell. And I know not every church believes the same thing.

So when God calls us to the CC, we still have to fight against indoctrination and sometimes it is hard to overcome this.

If you have always felt devotion to Mary was idolatry, how then do you start calling her the Queen of heaven and praying the rosary? How do you start believing in purgatory?

Whereas if you had little religious instruction, it’s a little different. If you were an atheist, then once you decide to believe in Jesus, then why not believe what the Catholic Church says. And if you attended “high church”, then there are less obstacles.

Do you understand?

well i have finaly joined the catholic church. it was wonderful. some of my family and also the minister and his wife from my former church came to support me .

TheExorcist,

You might contact your local parish and set an appointment up to talk with the RCIA director and explain your situation. At the very least, you could get the title of the books used in RCIA.

Rebecca,

As another poster listed:

Mary
Praying to the Saints
Statues
Legalistic (Works)
Purgatory
Confession (one mediator between God and man)

…the differences also include the Church’s use of Sacraments and sacramentals and those are discussed one by one in each session.

In addition, we have a liturgical year calendar, a priesthood, vestments, celebration of the Mass, and particular Holy Days that other faiths don’t use.

Orthodox, Anglicans, Catholics and Orthodox Catholics share many of the items that I listed above.

In outward appearances, Lutheran churches are quite similar to Catholic. Their theology however, is quite different.

I hope this information helps.

It takes some people longer to discern if they trully want to become Catholic and/or to accept the Churches teachings in full. For them, the RCIA process can be invaluable. For others, who are graced with the faith to believe sooner, the wait can be excrutiating.

In either case, the process allows time to learn and grow in your faith, both in class and on your own. You will build relationships with other candidates and the parish’s staff. You will be an inspiration to one another and even to current parishioners.

At Easter Vigil, as you finally approach the Body and Blood for the first time for Holy Communion, you will know that it was worth the wait.

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