Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults Faith Process
It’s the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. A process for preparing and welcoming new members into the Catholic Church.
Dr. Carmel Suart
“When one witnesses the election by God through the catechumens and candidates, we come to know more profoundly that God is at work in our Church,”
Director: Dr. Carmel Suart
Continuing to build on the foundation from what her predecessor Karen Hart had left off, Dr Suart said the Office of Christian Initiation will continue to assist Parishes through providing training, formation and resources so that they may guide people more confidently on their conversion journey.
Using her skills and experiences to minister to those around her, the new Director for the Office of Christian Initiation Dr Carmel Suart very early on discovered that her great passion in life was simple: to share her faith with others whenever possible.
“Thankfully, I have been very fortunate that I have always been a position where this has been possible,” Dr Suart said.
Dr Suart began her career as a primary school teacher. She has also served as a consultant with the Catechist Service Team at Catholic Education of Western Australia (CEWA), as a sessional lecture in Religious Education at Edith Cowan University and was a Doctoral student and sessional lecturer at the University of Notre Dame Australia (UNDA).
“While these experiences have allowed me to share knowledge and traditions of the Catholic faith, I have always felt that the most rewarding in my own faith journey has been my involvement in Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA),” she said.
“Being involved in RCIA for more than 15 years at a Parish level and in my work as a consultant with the Catechist Service at CEWA, I have had the privilege of walking side by side with people of all ages, seeking God within the Catholic faith tradition,” she explained.
Admitting the fact that many cradle Catholics do not have a fervour for their faith, and may instead view faith as an obligation they have to carry out every Sundays, Dr Suart said that it was her experience of witnessing people’s life journey and listening to their stories of conversion that inspired and encouraged her to stop and examine her own faith commitment and grow in her relationship with Christ.
Amanda Murthy (05 Feb 2020). No separation between faith and life, says new Director for the Office of Christian Initiation. TheRecord, Retrieved from therecord.com.au
Returning Home to Christ Through RCIA
There exists in the human heart an innate yearning to return home, this longing finds its home in God. Christian Initiation through the process of RCIA responds to this need. Christ initiates the invitation to unbaptised catechumens, and to candidates who have received Baptism in other Christian denominations, to come and see how the Catholic community live, pray and worship. This invitation may come through family, friends, neighbours or work colleagues.
RCIA supports those seeking to deepen their relationship with Christ, through developing familiarity with the Gospel teachings; deepening the personal experience of prayer and worship; feel a sense of belonging and acceptance within a Parish community of faith; and live a Christian life.
Each person is on their own spiritual pathway home to Christ, often with needs difficult to verbalise. The gradual unfolding of the mysteries of Catholic faith and belief are patiently encouraged and shared to assist in the conversion journey. The Ministry of RCIA through the Clergy, Parish Catechists, Sponsors and God-parents, and the prayers and welcome of the wider Parish community, provides the hospitality for new members to the Church to fully assimilate and actively engage in the Liturgical life of the Church.
What is R.C.I.A?
How does it work?
The process of becoming a Catholic Christian is a journey in faith made in the company of other enquirers, catechists, sponsors and priests. The enquirer journeys through up to four periods of formation involving discussion and sharing of the Gospel stories of Jesus Christ and what is means to be a follower of Jesus. Enquirers are welcome and are free to journey for as long as they wish.
How do I start?
Make contact with your local Catholic parish priest or R.C.I.A. team member. You may also make contact with either of the phone numbers shown over the page.
It will depend where you are starting from. In most parish groups, people will commence mid-year and journey to the following Easter and conclude at the time of Pentecost. It is important to understand that each person’s faith journey is unique and the RCIA’s intention is to appreciate that this, and share the deepening uniqueness of their relationship with Jesus Christ.
A community journey that leads to transformation of mind and spirit through sharing prayer and worship with the church community.
A personal journey which allows enquirers to examine their own relationship with God in an environment of Catholics sharing their own living faith and guided by the Gospel values.
What are the Sacraments of Initiation?
These are the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion, received by unbaptised people as they become
members of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church recognises the Baptism received by Christians from a number of other Christian churches. In these cases, the people entering the Catholic Church are welcomed into full Communion with the Catholic Church and would receive the sacraments of Confirmation and First Communion.
Who are Sponsors?
They are practising Catholics who offer special support and encouragement by walking the journey with the enquirer and providing a personal link between the candidate and the Church community.
Who are Catechists?
Who are Catechists? They are practicing Catholics who take on the responsibility to share the Gospel teachings of Jesus Christ; encourage understanding of community faith, worship and prayer; and instruct inquires in foundation belief of the Catholic faith.
Helpers on the Way..
Sponsors, Catechists and other team members work to establish a welcoming and sincere atmosphere to help candidates overcome early uncertainties. The parish priest is available for personal, spiritual or pastoral advice if requested. The whole parish community is encouraged to offer support through prayer and friendly interest.