What is RCIA?
Those who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church are brought into the Sacramental Life of the Church through the process of Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. The RCIA process finds its origin from the earliest days of Christianity when the early Church had to find a way to admit those who we were Jews or Gentiles desiring to be immersed into the sacred mysteries of the Christian life through Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.
RCIA was resurrected at the Second Vatican Council as a desire to get back to the sources, and get back to the practices of the early Church.
Catholics believe that Christ established a Church (and the New Testament images of the Church are "his mystical body" and "his bride". It becomes clear that the Church is not an "add-on" to our spirituality, but is in truth our connection to Christ. In other words, we cannot get to Christ without the Church, and we do not get the Church without Christ. This is the image of the New Testament, as Christianity is a deeply communal movement, and the Church is intimately bound to Christ (which is why St. Paul uses two powerful images of the Church as "body" and the Church as "bride".)
When Christianity was legalized in 313 AD, the whole world of the west, was brought into one Faith--Christianity, and therefore Catholicism. This is why RCIA fell into disuse, as it was in all reality unneeded, as most everyone was Christian.
At St. Paul University Parish, our FAITH INSTRUCTION COURSE is 7 months, and class is once a week, on Sunday night from 8:00 pm to 8:50 pm. The class is conveniently located between the two Sunday evening Masses, to allow for you to go to the 7pm or 9pm.
The Catholic Church ardently desires disciples, and not just numbers. Seven months seems like a long time, but this reminds me of the very true and famous words of Fyodor Dostoevsky, the Russian novelist that "one cannot love what one does not know." The process by which we come to know the Faith, which ultimately leads us to God is a process of love. Dostoevsky had to be thinking about 1 John 4:8 where St. John clearly articulates that our ability to love is in proportion to our knowledge of God. Now that being said, the sacred author is not using the word knowledge as we commonly use it today, to mean "academic" or purely intellectual knowledge. To know something, for St John is to experience it, through and through, to love then is to experience God, for God is love!
And so the Church proposes to us this awesome journey, and one that we are very eager to make with you!