Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA)
"Then he brought them out and said, ' Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' And they said, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved."
- Acts 16:30-31
When We Meet
Sundays, 10:00am - 12:00pm
What We Do
RCIA is a ministry comprised of Catholics who are committed to their faith and want to participate in leading others to their faith as sponsors. RCIA candidates and sponsors meet as a group, as the candidates make the journey for the first time, to "break open the Word" of the Gospel and study/present the beliefs of the Catholic Church. In this journey, both candidates and sponsors will be led to a deeper understanding of our faith in preparation for the candidate's entrance into full communion with the Catholic Church.
The ministry is active from early September through Easter each year, meeting mostly on Sunday mornings, with occasional evening and weekend events planned.
If you are interested in being a part of the RCIA program, as a participant, witness, or instructor, or simply want more information, please contact our Director of Faith Formation, Martha Vahanian (MVahanian@StGeorgeNewnan.org or 770-683-8979), or our RCIA Coordinator, Deacon Ed Buckley (DeaconBuckley@StGeorgeNewnan.org).
The Three Stages of RCIA
Also known as the Pre-Catechumenate phase, where those who are considering whether or not they have a calling to join the Catholic Faith are called "inquirers." They are called "inquirers" because, in this phase, they will have the opportunity to get acquainted with some Catholics, including the members of the RCIA committee and the other inquirers. This is a time that is set aside to provide the inquirers with the opportunity to obtain answers to questions that they may have regarding the Catholic Faith. As some would put it, it is a time to "break the ice" so that everyone can become comfortable with each others, both, the Catholics and the seekers.
The second phase of the RCIA process is called the "Catechumenate." This phase involves the period of formal training in the Catholic way of life. It is the phase during which the "catechumens" (those never baptized) and the "candidates" (those baptized in another denomination) study the Catholic Faith. During this phase, studies are focused on the Lord Jesus, His teachings, the teachings of the Catholic Church and the Sacraments. These studies normally touch on the subjects of the writings of the early Church Fathers, Catholic dogmas, the infallibility of the Pope, the Virgin Mary, Purgatory, etc... At this stage, the catechumens and candidates are assigned a sponsor, a member of the RCIA Committee, who will walk the faith journey with them on a one-to-one basis. During this period, the catechumens and candidates partly participate in the Sunday celebration of the Holy Mass. They participate in the Liturgy of the Word, but are excluded from participating in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. After the homily, the priest dismisses them with a blessing. Then they leave the gathering to further study the meaning of the Scripture readings. The study of the deeper meaning of the Word of God is called the "breaking open the Word."
Purification and Enlightenment
The third phase of the catechumenate (RCIA process) is called the "Purification and Enlightenment" phase. This phase usually takes place during the forty days of the Lenten Season. During the Lenten Season, in preparation for the joy of Easter that approaches, the faithful are called to express their sincere repentance through their hearts rather than through outward expressions that may not reflect the true nature of their inner beings. Their repentance may be expressed in forms of fasting, prayer, sacrifices, charity towards others, etc... During this time of personal reconciliation and renewal in the Body of Christ, the elects are introduced to a number of prayers that may benefit their spiritual growth. During the Lenten Season, the focus of the RCIA process changes. Instruction into the Catholic Faith is replaced with an emphasis on conversion. Those who are already baptized take this opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Confession. During the celebration of the Holy Mass on the Third, Fourth and Fifth Sundays of Lent, the Church assembly celebrates the scrutinies with the elect. These rituals mark the final preparation of the "catechumens" (those not baptized) to receive the Sacraments of initiation. These scrutinies include exorcism prayers for deliverance from sin, evil and evil influences in order to strengthen the faithful to the Word of God. During the exorcisms, the elect kneel in humility as the community prays for them.