The RCIA process serves three primary functions in the parish:
1. It serves as a way that adults can be brought into the Catholic Church.
2. It serves as a way that adult Catholics who have not completed their sacramental preparation, for example those who have not been confirmed, can do so.
3. It serves as a renewal process for adults returning to Catholicism after a period away from the Church.
At St. Simon, this process entails weekly sessions, on Tuesday evenings, from early September until the Easter Vigil in the spring. Inquirers and candidates meet with the pastor and a small team of catechists from 7 to 8 pm in Plagge Hall. Many candidates bring a friend or spouse to the weekly sessions. All are welcome. The meetings are casual and there is no obligation.
Topics for discussion include faith, Catholic practices, scripture, prayer, sacraments, and following Christ, but a heavy emphasis is placed on answering questions the inquirers might have. Participating in the RCIA is much more than going to classes on Catholicism. It is undergoing conversion to a new way of life in Christ. Forming Disciples of Christ is the primary goal.
The process culminates in the candidate’s baptism or confirmation at the Saturday evening parish Easter Vigil Service.
About 40 years ago, the Second Vatican Council called for this rite or process to be used to initiate new Catholics. It was fully adapted and made mandatory in the United States in 1988. There are some variations of the rite among parishes, some have a full year process, some programs are based on the scripture or the lectionary, some include Sunday Mass with dismissal after the readings and so on.
The method was a restoration of the kind of initiation used in the early Church.
Call the parish office (941-3656) if you would like to attend a session or need more information, and someone from the team will call you.