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Journey of the RCIA Program

Mar 4

Written by:
3/4/2018 12:00 AM  RssIcon

One of the signs of health of a parish is the participation in the RCIA program in which we welcome new members into the fold of the Catholic Church, either through Baptism or through reception into the faith for those who have already been Baptized in another Christian denomination. Lent is a time to highlight the journey of RCIA as the participants prepare to receive the Sacraments at the Easter Vigil. This year, in our pastoral region between Corpus Christi and St. John Neumann, we are preparing to welcome 16 new members into our fold at the Vigil, which is by far the largest group that I have ever welcomed and is a sign of the health and growth of these two parishes, praise God!

But we do not just bring them right to the Vigil, there are many steps that happen prior to prepare them to receive the Sacraments. Many months ago, the period of Inquiry began in which our Catechumens and Candidates began the process of exploring Church teaching and the initial steps of what it means to be a disciple of Christ. They started to walk with us in our communities and we grew to know them and love them and bring them closer to Christ.

After the Rite of Welcome, they became Catechumens and Candidates for Full Communion, with the rights and privileges that are entailed there-in, one of which is the right to a Catholic Burial. The study of Church teaching grew deeper and their involvement in the Christian Community started to grow and strengthen as well.

On the first weekend of Lent, the Catechumens become the Elect as they sent before the Bishop to enter the time of final preparation for the Easter Sacraments, and we as the Christian Community, walk along with them so that as they receive the Sacraments for the first time, we receive the Sacraments anew with them!

During Lent and beginning this weekend, we have three ‘Scrutinies’ in which we examine their preparation for the Sacraments, but also pray in a particular way that they can be freed from previous old habits to put on the New Person of Christ Jesus. For each Scrutiny, there is a long passage that is read from the Gospel of John in which Jesus reconciles the Woman at the Well, heals the blindness of the man at Solomon’s Portico and brings his friend Lazarus back to life. As we enter those stories, we, too, are reconciled, have our spiritual sight renewed and come to new life in Jesus, as well.

Finally, over Holy Week and into the Easter Triduum, our High Holy Days, the Elect and Candidates enter the final stage of preparations for the Sacraments. We hold a Morning of Inspiration on the weekend of Palm Sunday. The morning prior to the Easter Vigil we hold a day of retreat for them to prepare spiritually, and finally, at the Great Vigil of Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus is proclaimed anew, the Elect are washed clean in the waters of rebirth in Baptism; and both the Elect and the Candidates are sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation and nourished for the first time with Holy Communion.

As we enter these last stages of their preparation, please pray for our 16 Elect and Candidates that they might be as open as possible to the Grace available to them during these days and that they might find the deep joy that is living in the lasting relationship of Jesus Christ!

 

God Bless and Prayers, Fr. Kyle Schnippel


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Re: Why do we place a white pall on the casket of the deceased at funeral Masses?
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