Are you drawn to the Catholic Church?
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 28:11)
There are many reasons people are drawn to the Catholic Church. Some were moved by the love shown to them by their Catholic friends or relatives or by the latter’s values or approach to life. Others were called while studying in Catholic schools through their encounters with Catholic friends and teachers. Persons who marry Catholics often choose to enter the Church after witnessing the faith of their spouses or in helping to bring up their children in the Catholic faith. Prominent Christians from other denominations have become Catholics after studying the writings of the Church Fathers. There are also those who discovered the church while looking for meaning in their lives or for a religion to believe in.
Whatever the reasons for wanting to know more about the Catholic faith, we welcome and invite you to join the RCIA process at the Church of St Anthony or at the Catholic Church near you. The RCIA journey is also open to Catholics who want to rediscover their faith.
What is RCIA or Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults?
RCIA stands for Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. Becoming a Christian is a lifelong process, it is a journey of falling in love with God in a radical way. RCIA facilitates this journey for adults seeking conversion into the Catholic faith. It is where adults go on a journey of inquiry and discovery of the Catholic faith and of themselves. Session structure includes prayer, spiritual discussions, and inputs on the faith.
Who Can Attend RCIA?
- Unbaptised Adults who wish to learn more about the Catholic Church and its teachings and are open to becoming Catholic
- Baptised Christians from other denominations seeking full communion with the Catholic Church.
- Baptised Catholic adults who were baptised as infants but have not receive the sacraments of reconciliation, confirmation and Eucharist.
What languages are RCIA conducted in?
At the Church of St Anthony, we offer RCIA in English or Mandarin.
What does RCIA entail?
RCIA is a 4-stage program consisting of:
- Purification and Enlightenment
RCIA typically takes about a year to complete but the actual duration depends on the church where the program is run. Participants are accompanied by priests, facilitators and sponsors during the journey to becoming Catholics.
1) Inquiry or Pre-catechumenate
The period of Inquiry (or Pre-catechumenate) is a period of searching, asking questions, and responding to the initial stirrings of faith before making a public commitment to follow Christ. During this period, the inquirer begins to respond to stirrings to seek out the life with Christ.
Participants may at the end of this period, decide if he or she wishes to proceed to the next phase. The Inquiry Phase ends with the celebration of the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens. After this rite or celebration, participants will be called Catechumens.
The word catechumenate means ‘Time of serious study.” During this period, the catechumen is exposed to the life of the Christian community, through participating in the celebration of the Word, attending formation sessions, participating in the life of the community. The celebration of the Word refers to the first part of Holy Mass or Liturgy of the Word, after which they are dismissed to share on what they heard. This is done during a Sunday Mass and continues until they are baptised into the Church.
Each catechumen is accompanied by a sponsor, a practicing Catholic who may be provided by the church or be chosen by the Catechumen. Sponsors are spiritual companions who provide personal support and who bear witness and share their experience of Christian living and their relationship with God and to help participants to feel part of the community.
At the end of this phase, catechumens may chose to proceed to the next phase or to remain as catechumens until they are ready. The Catechumenate Phase ends with a Rite of Election or Enrollment of Names which includes catechumens from all Catholic churches in Singapore. After this rite which is presided over by the Archbishop of Singapore, the catechumens will be referred to as The Elect.
3) Purification and Enlightenment
This period of purification and enlightenment begins after the Rite of Election. It is a period of reflection and the intention is to intensify the desire to be part of the Christian community. This is a time of intense spiritual preparation where the elects are directed to purify their minds and hearts and enlightened with a deeper knowledge of Christ. During this time, there will be retreats and celebration of certain rites, particularly the scrutinies and the presentations of the Lord Prayer and the Creed. This happens during the season of Lent and lasts over the course of the entire season of Lent, where the elects prepare themselves spiritually to receive the sacraments of initiation.
This is the final period – the period of postbaptismal catechesis or mystagogy. After baptism, the elects are now called neophytes. The spirit of this period is derived from the personal experience of the sacraments and of the community. This is a time where the neophytes are gradually introduced into a fuller and more effective understanding of the mysteries through the Gospel message that they have learnt and the faith that they have been baptised into. During this time, the faithful should joyfully welcome the neophytes into the community and foster closer ties with them.
Getting Involved in RCIA
Baptised Catholics may join RCIA as a refresher, to deepen what they already know about the faith. They may wish to be involved as facilitators or to journey with the Elect as sponsors.
For enquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and the RCIA team will contact you.
- For more on the RCIA Team, please visit: http://saint-anthony.org/rite-of-christian-initiation-for-adults-rcia/ for English and http://saint-anthony.org/community/chinese-ministry-communities/chinese-rcia/ for Mandarin.
- For more on the RCIA process please visit the Office for Catechist webpage at https://www.catechesis.org.sg/rcia or at https://www.catholic.sg/becomingcatholic/.
- To read sharings and reflections on the Catholic Faith, head to https://stories.catholic.sg/
- To connect with us, please subscribe to our online channels which may be found at http://saint-anthony.org/homepage-announcements/church-of-st-anthony-online-channels/