St. Paul Roman Catholic Church
84 Sherwood Avenue, Greenwich CT 06831
Rectory (203) 531-8741 Fax (203) 532-1414 Religious Education Office (203) 531-4265
Saint Paul Parish of Greenwich is a welcoming community for all those curious about the Roman Catholic Church and Religion. Our RCIA process is oriented to anyone who is sincerely interested in learning about the Catholic Church with a view to possibly becoming a Roman Catholic. Additionally, it welcomes Catholics who have been baptized but never received the remaining Sacraments of Initiation – Eucharist and Confirmation. Persons baptized in other religious traditions wishing to learn what the Roman Catholic Religion professes are also welcome. The RCIA team has a broad range of adult life experience providing a secure, open hearted, welcoming forum for any inquirer during weekly sessions conducted at St. Paul’s. A short description of the RCIA process is presented in the following paragraphs.
The RCIA Process:
The process is organized and structured as a continuing faith and spiritual journey. The journey consists of steps or periods of inquiry, instruction, and growth; each period preparing the inquirer for the next step, if so interested. At each step, the Church respects each inquirer’s decision.
It consists of four sequential periods: The Precatechumenate, Catechumenate, Purification and Enlightenment, and the Mystagogy period. The first period typically starts the first or second week in September, after Labor Day, and lasts to the start of Advent; the last week of November or first week in December. The second, Catechumenate, continues the process through Christmas until the first Sunday of Lent. The third period extends through Lent to Easter, culminating in the rite of Christian Initiation at which the Sacraments of Baptism (if not already baptized), the Eucharist and Confirmation are received. At this rite the individual is welcomed into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church. And the Mystagogy period continues from Easter to Pentecost; seven weeks after Easter.
Precatechumenate (or Inquiry) Period:
This first period is primarily a time of inquiry. During the first period the inquirer is welcomed, their life experience as well as the RCIA team member’s experience is initially explored. The basic tenets of the Catholic Church are explained as well as an explanation of the Gospel – Old and New Testaments. When the inquirer starts to exhibit the beginnings of a spiritual life and an initial understanding of the Roman Catholic Religion basics he or she may take the first formal step into the Catholic Church. With the recommendation of the RCIA team and Pastor’s approval, the inquirer takes part in the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of the Catechumenate or for the baptized inquirer (a Candidate) the Rite of Welcoming.
A deepening understanding of the Sacraments, the Liturgy, the Old and New Testaments, the beliefs of Catholics, the relationship between Christ and His Church, the Saints, the power of Faith, God’s continuous presence and love for all beings is presented and sought during the Catecumenate period. This provides a real sense of the salvation mystery in which the candidate desires to participate. At this time, the Rite of Sending and the Rite of Election affirms that the Catechumen is suitable to become one of the elect. The Bishop, with the advice of the parish community admits the person as elect for the Sacraments of Initiation. Candidates (those already baptized), in place of the Rite of Election are recognized by the Call to Continuing Conversion.
Purification and Enlightenment Period:
During Lent the focus of the RCIA process is to instill a deepening spiritual understanding of the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation - to be received at the Easter Vigil Liturgy. (For Candidates previously baptized in another Christian tradition, they will make a Profession of Faith instead of being baptized.) Because of this focus, “The Elect” also must have the intention of increasing their knowledge of Christ and his Church, and examining their own lives. With the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation, the Catechumens and Candidates are received into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church.
During Mystagogy, the Neophytes (those who were baptized) and the other newly received deepen their Christian experience, continue their spiritual growth, reflect on the graces received, and fully enter the life of the community as Roman Catholics. They are helped to understand that their new faith is a lifelong commitment, and a continuing journey. And they are openly welcomed into the community. The Neophyte Year (of which Mystagogy is the first part) extends from Easter to the anniversary of their initiation; after which they are no longer called neophytes.
The First Step:
For more information regarding the RCIA process, you are encouraged to contact the Rectory at (203) 531 - 8741 leaving your name and where you can be reached. If more convenient Click Here to send an E-mail.
©2006 St. Paul Roman Catholic Church