The process of becoming a Catholic takes place in various stages and involves certain ceremonies called “rites”. The groups involved are very interactive and experiential.
This is a period of no fixed time when those interested in the Catholic church have an opportunity for inquiry and introduction to gospel values, a time of unhurried reflection and discovery, whereby a person begins to search out God's call to enter meaningfully into the life of the Church.
Acceptance into the Catechumenate
The Rite of Acceptance marks the beginning of the catechumenate. The candidates may be either previously unbaptized or baptized in another Christian tradition, all seeking membership in the Catholic Church. (Running concurrently with these candidates is a separate group of those who are Catholics but are not yet fully initiated into the Church, eg not confirmed.)
This is a time for nurturing, growth and conversion to God. During this period they are given the assistance of a sponsor, who is committed to help them in the process of becoming a full member of the Church.
Period of Purification and Enlightenment
The Rite of Election, usually celebrated on the first Sunday of Lent, is the Church's formal affirmation of the candidates willingness and readiness for the sacraments of initiation. Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation. These sacraments are celebrated a the Easter Vigil. For all candidates this means full reception into the Catholic Church.
This is also a period of purification for the parish community. We are all called to reform our lives according to the gospel.
Period of Mystagogy
The word mystagogy comes from the Greek and means “entering into the mystery”. It is the period after the Easter Vigil when the newly initiated take time for further instruction and growth in the mysteries of the faith. They are encouraged to continue reading and studying scripture and are introduced to the opportunities for Christian service.
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is a process that affects the entire life of the Church. Not only the candidates, but all members of the parish are called on to reflect on how they will experience Christ's life through these new members.
Throughout the entire process, the community is called upon to affirm and confirm its own faith. To communicate its support to those making the journey towards full membership and remind oneself that growth is ongoing and lifelong.
If you would like to know more, please contact Gill Greenwood.