What to Expect with RCIA?

Hello everyone! I’m new here and wasn’t sure where to post this, so please forgive me if I’m in the wrong forum.

My husband and I were both Baptized Catholic, and I made my First Communion at eight years old. However, during our adolescence, although always loving and believing in God and Jesus, we grew apart from the church (as sometimes happens with teenagers).

We were married by a justice of the peace six years ago, but a few months ago had a conversation in which we both expressed our desire to return to the church and living as Catholics. We have found a church that seems perfect for us, and will be going next Sunday to speak to the Priest there and inquire about doing the RCIA program. We want more than anything to be re-married in the Catholic church and raise our future children (which we pray God will bless us with very soon!) in the Catholic faith.

Whether or not we’ll both have to be re-baptized into the faith is just one of the many questions we have for the priest, but we were wondering if anyone who has gone through RCIA themselves wouldn’t mind telling us what we can expect? We’re very excited about all of this, as it feels like we’re starting our lives for a second time!

Thank you for any replies you all may have…they’re much appreciated. :slight_smile:

RCIA is for non-Catholics who wish to enter the Church, and sometimes is appropriate for Catholics who left the Church completely to practice another religion for a long time. No one who is validly baptized may be re-baptised.

You should give the priest all details of your marriage situation, sacraments received, with an overview of your faith life. He will guide you in preparing to have your marriage convalidated, and in preparing for Confirmation. It is true you might be in a classroom with others in RCIA, since not every parish has the resources for separate classes, but their journey will not be exactly like yours. You will also be encouraged and assisted to see to your children’s religious education and sacramental preparation.

Welcome Home!

Thank you very much for your reply. The reason I asked about my husband and I having to be re-baptized is because about a month ago, I called my God Parents (both devout Catholics) and explained our situation and they told me we would probably be required to participate in the RCIA program since we haven’t been practicing Catholics for so long. (I’m 24 and haven’t been to church is almost 15 years, my husband is 30 and hasn’t been since he was 18). I wasn’t sure about having to redo Baptism and my First Communion, but I do need to make my Confirmation as I never did that. My husband also never made his First Communion or Confirmation.

We’ll be sure to be as specific and detailed as possible with the Priest. This is extremely important to us since we want our spiritual lives to be full and “back on track” so to speak, as well as be prepared to fulfill our future childrens’ spiritual lives as well. :slight_smile:

From what I was told and I am not officially Catholic as of yet until this Easter…I was told that Catholic Church does NOT REbaptize unless there is doubt of the 1st baptism.

And Welcome Home!!!:smiley:

Ah ok. Well there won’t be any doubt for my husband and I then since we’ve both been in contact with the churches we were baptized at and they do have our documents proving we were both baptized as babies.

And thank you both for the welcome. It does feel great being home. :slight_smile:

As Baptized and catechized Catholics you would not go through the RCIA. You would be Returning Catholics so a program like **Landings **might be more appropriate for you. You would also need to prepare for Adult Confirmation to complete your Sacraments. However your first stop should be with the pastor. Your Marriage would be Convalidated in the Catholic Church.

Request certified copies of the Baptismal documents from the parish, usually on the back they will also list and additional Sacraments received in your case First Holy Communion.

In your case you should be able in a few weeks go to Confession and begin receiving Communion at Sunday Mass.

hi, i see many people already explained a lot…

first of all, i was a convert, and had been baptized and confirmed Episcopalian.
i was not re-baptized. as long as your baptism was done “in accord with church doctirne” then it is a recognized baptism. period. forever. (since yours was in the Catholic church there was never any doubt!)
the church does not “re baptize” because there is no time limit on your baptism.
it doesnt matter WHAT you did in the meantime (at least as far as your baptism goes)

if you have been baptized, but not confirmed… then your local parish may put you in RCIA, or may not. depending on how they choose to handle this (technically, btw. you are “candidates” in that case, like i was…“catechumins” are unbaptized)

they may choose to go another route. you say you received communion? then i think you ARE confirmed… and merely need to go to confession. (never take my word on it… ask your parish priest)

now, if you or your husband do end up in RCIA or something:

well, if its like mine… you will end up in a class of people whop vary WIDELY in their knowledge of Christianity and catholicism. it will be , sadly, a case of sit through the boring class explaining basic stuff to the least educated… and then a few really interesting classes (that i am sure some other people were bored by) on other things.

if you are very lucky they have a real “adult” class that will not be so dull… i am afraid our class seemed to be aimed at the level of high school most of the time.
if that is the cross you must bear.

hopefully you will be able to either find an adult group to study with… and with a good priest.

IF you end up in RCIA (or even if you dont) go and get some good books on Catholicism. like Catholicm for dummies , a copy of the catechism, What Catholics believe, a gude to the Mass, depending on your level of education and interest… i can suggest more (i like Scott Hahn’s books, myself). also remember that sadly, some of the RCIA teachers are not as well formed on the faith as they might be…

i favor the Rosary, myself. and own many books on that as well. it is a great practice IF it is understood. its not just a few prayers (although it helps once you get them memorized) but the “mysteries” are lessons from the life of Christ, his Birth, life and ministry (the newer luminous mysteries) his death, and his resurrection. as mostly seen with the “frame” of Mary’s witness…

While it is true that they don’t really belong in the RCIA program, the truth is that many parishes, including mine, don’t have the resources for having seperate adult confirmation classes so they have those just needing confirmation attend the RCIA classes to prepare for confirmation. The way they do it at my parish is those just needing confirmation did not have to start the classes until Jan. (we started in August) and they do not take part in the Sunday dismissals or the different RCIA rites (like the Rite of Acceptance and Welcoming, the Rite of Continuing Conversion and Election etc…). We currently have 2 baptised Catholics needing confirmation in our RCIA class.

this is where it is best for folks in RCIA not to compare their own situation with those of others who may be in the same class. Someone who is baptized validly in another Christian denomination comes into full communion with the Catholic Church through a profession of faith, confirmation (and after a general confession) first communion, at Easter, or some other time deemed suitable by the pastor.

A person who is baptized Catholic receives further instruction in the faith and preparation for first communion (preceded by sacramental confession, just as above) and Confirmation. Usually not at Easter but at another time set by the bishop.

A person who has never been baptized is baptized, confirmed and receives first communion during the Easter vigil, and is prepared for first confession sometime after Easter (and should be participating in post-baptismal catechesis for a minimum of 7 weeks afterward).

All of these folks may be in the same class for instruction, sharing and fellowship, but will separate different rites during the process to mark their progress, suited to their status, and may and probably will celebrate sacraments at different times.

Not everyone who joins a class at the same time will necessarily be ready for sacraments together either, it takes as long as it takes, and it takes longer for some people.

Welcome home to all!
OOOOOH I love my job!

oh i wish…
sadly not so in my class.
we had baptized non Catholics, baptized Catholics, Unbaptized, teens, and adults. the only “division” was twice

  1. the primarily Spanish speakers had their own class.
  2. when we were presented along with all the RCIA classes in the diocese… they called the Catechumins and the Candidates up separately.

in our Easter Vigil, the one person who needed baptism was baptised first, then came over and was confirmed with the rest of us.
and no one had any additional classes. they dont offer any.

you must live in a very nice parish.
i like mine, we have confession twice daily! but classes and education are not tehri strong point…

may I strongly urge that whoever enters the Church through RCIA, or who is confirmed this year as an adult, take advantage of whatever bible study or adult education is offered in your parish, and check out the diocesan newspaper or website for offerings there or in surrounding parishes. May I urge even more strongly that you return and give back what you have received as a sponsor for RCIA (you will be surprised how much you can learn the 2nd time around helping someone else) or even as a catechist.

In our parish nearly everyone goes through RCIA. First and foremost the program is for unbaptized individuals wishing to join the Catholic Church, They are the catechumens, Those that were baptized in another denomination and want to become Catholic are Candidates, and we welcome those that were Baptized Catholic and have been away from the Church for a long period to renew their faith and receive any of the Sacraments of Initiation that they may not have received in he past.

What has your parish done to recruit additional Catechists so that they can eventually separate the processes?

we do things a bit differently here because our goal is to be as welcoming and accommodating to everyone in need of adult sacramental preparation and catechesis. The year-round RCIA is offered at one time and place during the week in English and Spanish, on Sunday morning, so that candidates and catechumens may attend the Mass they prefer. We now have more depth in the pastoral and catechetical areas of the team so with the new group we will finally be able to dismiss the catechumens properly and separate them for their portion of preparation suited to them, and bring the candidates in after Mass for the catechetical sessions. Our overwhelming experience is that almost all participants need and want a fuller, deeper, longer more challenging catechesis, and they are dissatisfied and ill-served if the process is truncated. Cradle Catholics who have never received sacraments or who have been away from the faith for a long time actually seem to need more time than unbaptized persons.

What we offer several times during the year at different days and times is the 9-12 week inquiry or initial evangelization and formation series. That way as soon as someone inquires the can be placed right in a class, and is never told “come back in September”. Initial formation is designed to cover the topics typical in most resources for Inquiry, including a heavy reliance on the gospels, and with additional sessions on preparation for each sacraments, covers what the diocese requires for parent-sponsor sacramental meetings, for initial catechist formation of new volunteers, and is all many practicing adult Catholics need for Confirmation prep, as it includes the topics required by bishop for that course. Inquirerers stay after the formal class for their own personal questions and are interviewed in depth before they join the formal RCIA program, which they can do at any time during the year as well.

Rather than offering classes for these different categories of people on only one day or time, which means turning people away, I combine what can be combined so people have a wider choice of meeting time. The other benefit to this arrangement is better use of our very limited space resources, accommodation of the catechist’s schedules, and the fact that almost always a sponsor emerges from the initial formation class for each inquirer who proceeds into RCIA. It also, incidentally, provides a steady pool of new volunteers for CCD and RCIA from among the fully initiated Catholics who participate as parents and sponsors.

I mean no disrespect, but this seems strange to me on a number of basic levels:

Why are people not baptized much sooner in the conversion process? Doesn’t anyone see the potential for a problem here if the church delays baptisim?

I guess that baptism washes away original, mortal, and venial sins, thus placing the person in a state of grace and prepared to receive communion, but wouldn’t it be more appropriate to receive one’s first communion after first confession?

I am from a traditional partish; we do not use RCIA. The priests feel that conversion is a very personal and important matter, and are not comfortable with abdicating this role to lay persons. They also do not believe in the arbitrary timeframe for joining the church that RCIA programs adhear to.

I would encourage anyone not comfortable with what is being presented in N.O. RCIA to contact a priest at a traditional parish and see what they have to offer.

What concerns me with this is that the RCIA is the Norm established for the Latin Catholic Church. IT’S NOT AN OPTIONAL PROCESS! Extraordinary form or ordinary form parish makes no difference. Any parish that specifically avoids the directives of the Holy See should be avoided not promoted.

No, the per Ephesians 4 we beleive in one baptism for the forgivness of sins. The only reason one would need to be “rebaptised” is if improper form was used, that is it was not done in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit because in this case the individual was not validily baptised to begin with.

I’m participating as an RCIA sponser this year, and my fiance is a Candidate (I’m not her sponser). I have to say my Church’s program is excellent and I think you’ll be pleasently supprised. Now I do have to ask, were either of you confirmed Catholic? If you were in fact confirmed then you certainly would not need (nor be able to) go through RCIA as a candidate but you certainly could as a Sponsor, which as a sponsor you still get to participate so it’s still a good learning experience.

I also recommend you check out these resources:

Free Audio (Mp3)

Bible Proofs for Catholic Truths:

Apologia Pro Vita Sua by John Henry Newman

The Catholic Controversy by St. Francis De Sales:

If you can find it, this was a very powerful book which helped start my reversion:
The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy

I also recommend you listen to as much EWTN radio as you can either on FM, Satallite or on the web www.ewtn. Particularly Openline from 3-5.

God bless,

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