Becoming Catholic

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For those who are not Baptised

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the official way of welcoming and receiving new members into the Church. The old idea of Church membership being just a private affair between the individual and God has been given the added dimension of the whole Catholic community.

Our Programme

We have been celebrating the RCIA for over 20 years in St Edmund's Parish. The programme starts, generally, in September/October and lasts until Easter.

Stage 1 is a period of Enquiry.

Stage 2, Catechesis, starts with the Rite of Acceptance when the enquirer becomes a Catechumen. They are asked to choose a Sponsor - a parishioner who will provide them with support and guidance. Each week, they attend a meeting to explore a particular aspect of the Faith including: the Trinity, Scripture, Church history (2000 years in one evening!), prayer, the Sacraments, the Catechism and Catholic social teaching.

There's even a session on "what's different about the Catholic Church?" This covers, Mary, the Saints, the Rosary, Litanies & Novenas and much else besides. Lay members of the parish lead all these sessions - although Fr Jonathan, the Parish priest, sometimes gets involved too! They are fairly informal and encourage plenty of questions and (hopefully) answers. Often they are held in peoples' homes. Feedback over the years suggests that they are lively and enjoyable.

Stage 3, the period of Enlightenment, starts with the Rite of Election at Arundel Cathedral when Catechumens from all over the Diocese come together and meet the Bishop. On the 3rd, 4th & 5th Sundays of Lent we celebrate the Scrutinies, a rite for self-searching and strengthening based on the Gospel stories.

The climax of the RCIA is the Easter Vigil when those Catechumens who are ready receive the Sacraments of Initiation - Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. Not all are. Some may be received months or even years later - if at all. There are no strings attached to following the programme - no forced conversions!

If you are interested in finding out more about the Catholic Faith perhaps with a view to becoming a Catholic, then contact the RCIA Organiser for St Edmund's, Ian Honeysett on 01483 429615.

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For those who are already Christians

Much of the catechesis for RCIA provides the basis for the support that we offer those who are already baptised and who wish to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church. The rites are significantly different since these men and women are already baptised and are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Those who are members of the Orthodox churches are asked only to make a profession of faith and retain their membership of their respective rites.

The group of candidates for reception into full communion usually meet weekly with Ian and the catechumens. They welcome anyone who would like to explore coming into full communion - no obligation, no strings attached. A fresh group usually starts in the autumn of each year.