Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), is a process by which a person becomes a full member of the Roman Catholic Church. It is a process of prayer, discussion, study and celebration. Any person, who is not baptized, baptized from other denominations or baptized Catholics who have not received First Communion or Reconciliation are invited to attend.
RCIA is a Personal and Communal journey of Conversion and Transformation to become full, active, participating members of the Body of Christ.
St. Mary's follows a process which consists of several components. For all inquirers, baptized or unbaptized, we begin with an initial meeting to determine needs for the specific individual and their families. The general process is:
1. We assign a mentor or mentor family from the parish, to journey alongisde the inquirer. The mentor may accompany the person to Mass, to parish social functions, to faith formation, and so on. The mentor should also model and discuss the importance of regular confessions. The baptized inquirers are expected to begin celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation when they feel "fairly sure" that they will at some point come into Full Communion with the Church. Unbaptized do not begin celebrating Reconciliation at this time.
2. Meet on the first Wednesday of each month, with a focus on spirituality and community. Questions are invited at this time (and any time by phone or email), and clarification on upcoming events in the parish and in the process will be made. Some brief catechesis and/or presentation may be made. Mentors are encouraged to attend these sessions.
3. Inquirers are expected to attend Sunday School sessions during the regularly calendared Sunday School weekends. Mentors should accompany them as much as possible.
4. A series of presentations on the "16 Goals of the Diocese of Tyler" will be made on the third Wednesdays of each month, August - November, and January - June. Inquirers will be expected to attend these presentations. It is not required that the sixteen sessions be completed prior to entry into the Church. However, it is recommended that the sixteen sessions be completed by continuing attendance after entry.
5. At any time a baptized inquirer feels they are ready to come into Full Communion with the Church, they are invited to discuss this with the RCIA team, and if in agreement, a date for this will be set during the coming weeks. No baptized person will be required to "wait until Easter" for entry into the Church. The Easter Vigil is set aside specifically for the unbaptized.
6. An unbaptized person will follow the same process as the baptized, except the unbaptized are on a calendar that aims for the Easter Vigil as the normal time for them to be Baptized, Confirmed, and to celebrate First Holy Communion. About a month after the Vigil, they should begin a regular pattern of Confessions.
7. The mentor should continue walking with the new Catholic, answering questions, accompanying them to events, Masses, etc, for as long as is desirable.
Call Gary McWilliams at 903-918-7725 or Elizabeth Slaten at 903-757-5855 x312 for more information. We meet Wednesday nights from 6:45 to 8:15. We'd like to answer your questions about Catholic beliefs, and help you in any way we can.