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Sunday, June 1, 2008

RCIA, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults - My Answer to Maria

A commenter on Candy's www.keepingthehome blog writes:

Hi Candy. I'm sorry that i'm asking you this (and i am in no way trying to cause you more grief)
but why do you have to study for a long time to become a Catholic. Why do you have to have communion and sorts.
I ask this because my dear friend has recently married a Catholic man and he wants her to become catholic to.
What she is learning goes against everything she has learnt from the Bible. (We have Always been Bible Believing Christians)
Her Husband can't answer her because he doesn't know. Infact, Praise be to the Lord he is also starting to question his faith
(I think at the moment he's afraid to go against his mother,,poor thing!)
You are such an inspiration, and i know you will always tell the truth for the Lord.
I really do apologise and understand completely if this goes no further than me asking you.
Much Love being sent your way and God Bless you and your wonderful Family.


Dear Maria,
I hope that you will happen across this answer someday. I realize that I am not Candy, but I have been a Catholic for over 40 years, my grandfather was a convert, I have some friends who were converts, and I speak annually to our parish RCIA class - so I might know a little bit about it!

Would you buy a car without doing a little research? Or buy a major appliance? Would you marry a guy without spending a little time with him first? The answer is probably of course not! You would want to do some investigation and put some time into it before making a major investment with your time or money!

So why would you want your friend to join the Catholic church without putting some time into learning what it is all about and living it for a while? It makes no sense.

Don't be so sure that your friend's husband's questioning and studying is going to take him away from his Catholic faith. My husband and I studied our way right back into the heart of the church. Many Protestant ministers have done the same. So praise God indeed - questioning what one has "learnt" can be a good thing!

I thought this site had a good answer:

Once I have decided to join the Catholic Church, why might it take 1-2 years? That seems like a long time.
When someone comes forward with an interest in joining the Catholic Church, that interest is then to be joined with knowledge about the Church's traditions and teachings, as well as a sufficient experience of the Catholic faith community. Joining the Catholic Church is not about passing a test on Catholicism; rather it is about learning and living the Gospel of Jesus in the context of the parish and wider Catholic community. This takes time and it is suggested that one wishing to join the Church experience at least one full liturgical year of the Catholic faith community.

Adult baptisms are celebrated each year at the Easter Vigil (the Saturday night before Easter Sunday), which occurs each year in the Spring. If one comes to the parish in December with a desire to be baptized and to join the Church, the following Easter would only be approximately 4 months away. This is not sufficient time for someone to experience the fullness of the Catholic faith Church and community. This "December seeker" would be welcomed into the RCIA process, would journey with a fellow group of seekers each week, and would most likely be baptized and initiated into the Catholic Church approximately 16 months later. If one comes to the parish in the spring having made a decision to join the church, depending on the level of preparation needed, that person may be deemed ready to be initiated into the church at the following Easter, which would be approximately 12 months later.

The goal in joining the Catholic Church is not to be baptized, although the Sacrament of Baptism is a priceless gift from our God. The goal is to grow in your love and awareness of God, to begin or build on your relationship with Jesus Christ, and to learn how the Catholic faith community lives out this call. Baptism is part of the journey but not a finish line to sprint towards. Joining the Church is a process of shaping our hearts, minds, and spirits so they look more like God's. The rich exploration of faith is not a race, but a journey to be savored, reflected upon, and celebrated.


The RCIA people I have met enjoyed the journey and the process. I hope some of our converted Catholics will share some of their experiences in this thread.

God Bless you Maria and I hope you will pray for your friend and her husband (and try not to meddle in their marriage!)

In Christ,

Elena






RCIA Manual/Archdiocese of Military


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11 comments:

Unashamed said...

Happy belated Birthday Elena :)

Lutherans have a similar practice which we refer to as adult confirmation. If someone is "converting" from another Christian denomination, then they receive instruction in the Small Catechism before they are received into membership. How long the instruction takes is up to the pastor.

The reason for doing this is similar: since they are going to be publicly confirming their faith, we want them to understand what the faith is. Also, it's vitally important that they thoroughly understand the nature of the Eucharist before they are admitted to it, lest they eat and drink damnation upon themselves (1 Cor. 11:29) Obviously, discipleship doesn't end when adult instruction ends...living and learning the faith is an ongoing, lifelong process that is not complete until we are called home.

MariaBends said...

Hello Ladies, this is Maria. I Thankyou for taking the time to answer my question, even though I never asked you ladies for anything. I don’t really appreciate you answering a question that you weren’t asked to do, but I see that’s what you do quite a lot. Now, if you just wrote a piece on this without mentioning anyone’s name, then no-one would be offended and might actually take you serious. Would you like me to write about You Elena, Kelly, Tracy or Blondie. Have my own website for you all. Trust me, you wouldn’t like it.
Not that I need to explain myself, but when my friend got married (and in her words-they couldn’t marry in a catholic church because she wasn’t catholic, was also told that any children they have also wont be allowed to be baptised if their mother isn’t catholic. My friend Loves her Husband and this is why she will follow her Husband even if it goes against her own beliefs. And I tell you now, no matter how light hearted you think it was done, I am in no way meddling in their marriage and I am very hurt for you even suggesting that. Her husband is starting to question his own faith all on his own by observing what his wife is being subjected to. No-one has to learn how to love the Lord! And mother-in-law is very abrupt, like you ladies seem to be and is very unapproachable, which I know you ladies will all kid yourselves you’re not, but in truth, and not only to me, you all seem to be very petty and jealous ladies. You think you have an answer for everything, but that just makes more fools of you. You may not notice this, but you are doing a terrible job of defending your faith. All we see on this site is bickering because someone said this or someone else said that and going on and on at them because they don’t think like you.
I understand the need for this website, but the way it is done is not nice. Everyone has different opinions about their faith and everything else. If you spent your time explaining your faith without attacking someone else, then maybe more people, who aren’t catholic will take you seriously and may actually want to learn more about what it means to be a catholic.
I am so sorry if I have hurt any of you with what I have said. I certainly mean no disrespect towards you ladies but your actions are causing people a lot of abuse and heartache. I would love to hear more about what it means to be a catholic and all that goes with it. Just not in this way.
Thankyou for your time and God Bless to you all.
Maria x

Blondie said...

If I asked an honest question then I'd be happy if you tried to answer it.

But actually, I could care less if you wrote about me on your website or whatever. Nope, wouldn't bother me at all.

Blondie said...

Show me the bickering, the pettiness and jealousy you speak of. I see it nowhere on this site. All I see are Catholic moms who are defending a faith that is dear and precious to them, the same faith that Candy belittles and spreads filthy lies about. Lies that she has been corrected on numerous times, but continues to spread.

Elena said...

Hi Maria, I'm glad you found your way to this site.

Not that I need to explain myself, but when my friend got married (and in her words-they couldn’t marry in a catholic church because she wasn’t catholic, was also told that any children they have also wont be allowed to be baptised if their mother isn’t catholic.

Both of those are false. Catholics can marry non-Catholics in side the Catholic church all of the time. I am one of the wedding coordinates at my church and I would say more than half are mixed marriages. Same deal with the baptisms, in fact my goddaughter has a Catholic father and an atheist for a mother. So the information your friend received was either wrong or she misunderstood.



Her husband is starting to question his own faith all on his own by observing what his wife is being subjected to.

I'm not sure what she is being subjected to or where they got this information but it is wrong. i suggest that if it is from their local parish that they go to another Catholic church and then report what happened to them to the Diocesan Bishop.


No-one has to learn how to love the Lord!

Well... sometimes you do. Or re-learn it. When something devastating happens in your life sometimes it can make for a real rough patch in your faith journey.

You think you have an answer for everything, but that just makes more fools of you.

Well that maybe. But I know I'm right on this marriage and baptism thing. You can even check it out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church on line and probably the Canon Law site .

I understand the need for this website, but the way it is done is not nice.

My apologies. We're working on it.

Everyone has different opinions about their faith and everything else. If you spent your time explaining your faith without attacking someone else, then maybe more people, who aren’t catholic will take you seriously and may actually want to learn more about what it means to be a catholic.

I'll make note of it.

Just out of curiosity Marie, why would you go to someone who is not a Catholic, who has never been through RCIA, a question about the Catholic practice for welcoming converts? Even if you wouldn't ask that question here, why wouldn't you go to another Catholic web site or call your local Catholic church to ask such a question? Just wondering.


I am so sorry if I have hurt any of you with what I have said. I certainly mean no disrespect towards you ladies but your actions are causing people a lot of abuse and heartache.

I hear you. Please believe me when I say there is a lot of abuse and heart ache to pass around on both sides.

I would love to hear more about what it means to be a catholic and all that goes with it. Just not in this way.
Thankyou for your time and God Bless to you all.
Maria x


Thank you Maria.

MariaBends said...

Thankyou Elena for being so gracious about this, and for explaining. I went to The other Lady for advice because you don't get people all riled up agaist you(e.g-Blondie, and i'm sure many other ladies have alot to say about me) for asking certain questions. I'm sorry if i have upset/offended you Elena. My friend will certainly use your wisdom. I'm sure she will have alot of questions which i now know you will answer with all truth and honesty.
God Bless and thankyou.
maria x

Elena said...

I'll do my best to answer her questions Maria. Thank you.

Tracy said...

mariabends: my husband just joined the Catholic church two months ago, he was Lutheran (LCMS) and we have been married for 15 years.
I just want to say that we did indeed have our marriage in the Catholic church ( we had to take the marriage prep classes like everyone has to) also, we have had our children baptized in the Catholic church ( we spoke about all this before we got married and were clear that I would be raising the kids Catholic)we Never had any problems like your friend and my husband was never told any of those things, so your friend is receiving false information and most surely needs to have that cleared up as that is Not what the Catholic church teaches at all.
Also, I don't mind being wrote about, I don't write on my blog or this blog about Candy as a person, I discuss the falseness of her accusations and that is all as I discuss anybody or persons false views of the Catholic church.. not just Candy and I have not myself posted anything on this blog for quite some time as I feel that Kelly and Elena handle it far more graciously than I do. I hope you can find the questions your looking for and I wish you many blessings:)

Tracy said...

Also, I did mean to mention that you really don't study that long;(to become Catholic) my husband started R.C.I.A. classes in October and became a member in April, really not that long at all:)
Of course, as the Priest told my husband and the other R.C.I.A. candidates, just because you take these classes it doesn't mean your necessarily going to be ready to join, some of you will and others may want to wait and continue to learn and that is not uncommon, it is left up to each individual. Hope this helps!

Suzanne said...

Hello Maria,

I was Catholic and when I was 18 married a Baptist " in my Catholic Church" at the time. Both the Priest and the Pastor of the other church officiated. I did have to agree to raise children Catholic but they were open to letting children learn about both faiths. I am no longer a RC but I know many mixed marriages still take place there. They are very open to them and I guess your friend and her husband didn't get very good counsel from their church. All the best in their soul searching.

Blondie said...

Speaking of the length of time to become Catholic...I first met with a priest in February about converting, and my husband and I joined the church and had our children all baptized in June 2005.

I'm not sure why Maria keeps bringing up my name, I'm not sure what I have posted that is so offensive. :shrug: