[quote="KFRaymond, post:12, topic:284453"]
One of the most important elements of going through the RCIA process (not classes ... no one gets a degree so their is no hurry) is that the Candidate or Catechumen experiences enough Catholic "culture", the Sacraments and all of the seasons of the Church. Once they have been given exposure to all of this information, they are then able to make an informed decision about what it means to be Catholic. Especially for an unbaptized person, it is essential that it takes a year so they experience the seasons of the Church including Ordinary Time, Advent, Christmas, Lent, the Triduum and Easter. This allows them to go through at least a one year cycle and experience the birth, death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
The biggest reason that RCIA participants end up not remaining with their Catholic faith is that they rush through on a fast-track and don't really experience enough Catholicism to make an informed decision. The process of RCIA should generate a hunger to experience the Eucharist so they can truly understand that the God of the Universe, Creator of all things visible and invisible humbles himself enough to be in our presence and allows us to share in His holy existence by allowing us to receive Him body, blood, soul and divinity into our own bodies. This is a HUGE thing to grasp ... especially if you have been raised to believe that communion is a symbol and not a Real Presence. Why the rush anyway? Besides choosing a spouse, this is the most important life decision you will ever make.
At my parish, most of our RCIA participants that are unbaptized go through an entire year cycle before being received into the church. Baptized Christians from other faith traditions usually end up going to sessions at least 6 months.
To truly understand the beauty, richness and fullness of our Catholic faith, one cannot be fast-tracked to simply join the Church in a few weeks. Just my two cents but anything this important is worth waiting for and understanding as fully as one can!
Very good insight and well said. To those coming from non-Apostolic faith traditions, it is a noisier and busier culture that they are leaving. It is a profoundly deeper and potentially quieter culture that they are entering. It is the difference between a babbling mountain stream and a placid, but very deep lake. It is a form of culture shock to those that make a sudden jump - the sensory deprivation of a less-animated pastor, more somber music if there is any, no spontaneous praise and virtually no impromptu response to the pastor from the congregation. To sit in silence is a change that must be examined and experienced to be understood. But, once understood, nothing else satisfies.
However, this applies only to certain converts.