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Rites of Christian Initiation of Adults

Overview | Questions | Benefits | Who is R.C.I.A. for? | Schedule


RCIA  is  rooted  in  the  very  early  years  of  Christianity.  Small  communities  of  Christians  took   interested,  inquiring  individuals  (Catechumens)  into  their  company  and  introduced  them  to   their  way  of  life  and  their  belief  in  Jesus  and  His  teachings.  About  150-­200  A.D.,  initiation began  to  have  formal  requirements-­-­thus  the  beginnings  of  a  "Catechumenate".  The  3rd and 4th  centuries  brought  about  the  most  developed  structure  ␣  a  process  that  took  at  least three years.   By  the  5th  century,  disintegration  occurred  and  by  the  12th  century,  the Catechumenate  no   longer  existed.  
Attempts  to  reestablish  the  Catechumenate  in  the  16th  century  failed.  It  was  not  until  the 20th century  that  there  was  a  strong  revival  in  Africa  and  France.  Vatican  II  called  for  reinstating the Catechumenate  and  in  1988,  U.S.  Bishops  made  implementation  mandatory  in  the  United States.

However,  RCIA  is  more  than  the  process  by  which  those  desiring  to  be  baptized  and/or
complete  their  Christian  initiation  with  the  reception  of  the  sacraments  of  Confirmation  and Holy Eucharist.  It  is  also  a  faith  journey  in  which  each  church  member  reexamines  his  own relation-­ ship  with  God.  Each  of  us,  as  a  member  of  the  faith  community,  has  a responsibility to  help   welcome  and  support  new  Catholics.  What  we  do  to  make  them  feel welcome  can  have  a  tre-­ mendous  impact  on  the  growth  of  their  faith.  The  rite  is  intended to revive  the  missionary  spirit   of  all  members  of  our  faith  community.

We,  as  church,  are  involved  in  each  of  the  various  periods  of  the  candidates'  journey  in  the RCIA  process.  We  answer  their  questions,  give  our  support,  publicly  recognize  their  progress and  finally  approve  of  their  acceptance  into  the  church.    

We  are  grateful  for  all  those  members  of  Church  of  the  Visitacion  who  have  actively  partici-­ pated  in  RCIA  as  sponsors,  godparents  and  catechists.  In  the  past  you  have  unselfishly come   forward  and  committed  yourself  to  our  newcomers  and  we  sincerely  thank  you.  We also  thank   and  appreciate  all  those  unknown  parishioners  who  have  supported  our newcomers  with  their   prayers  and  words  of  encouragement.  We  entreat  each  member to consider  how  you,  too,  can   help  to  fulfill  Jesus'  commandment  to  "Go into all the world and proclaim the Good News to the whole creation."

RCIA  Benefits

The  benefits  of  the  RCIA  are  special  and  lifelong.  RCIA  can  help  to:  
- Build  Community  by  establishing  a  bond  between  newcomers  and  the  faith  community
- Renew  the  Commitment  of   church  members  to  live  out  their  baptismal  mission  
- Increase  Understanding  of  the  teachings   of  the  Gospel  and  the  Church  
- Inspire  Reflection  of  the  mystery  of  Christ's  sacrifice  for  the   salvation  of  the  faithful  
- Deepen  Responsibility  of  the  church  members  to  spread  their   faith  as  Jesus  commanded

- Unbaptized  adults  who  want  to  learn  about  Christianity  
- Baptized  Catholics  who  want  to  prepare  for  Eucharist  and/or  Confirmation  
- Baptized  non-­Catholics  wanting  to  learn  about Catholic  Christianity-­and  tradition

It  has  as  its  goal  that  each  candidate may  come  to  enjoy  a  fuller  and richer understanding of  God  and   mankind's relationship  to  God  and  community. The  RCIA  class  is  small and informal. It  meets   weekly,  on  Thursday evenings,  for  one  and  a  half  hours. The members  of  the  class  meet  with a team   of  dedicated  parishioners  and clergy  who  serve  as facilitators, sponsors  and  catechists. They  also   gather  together  at  the  9:30  AM Sunday mass to  celebrate  the  Liturgy of  the  Word.    

Their  Faith  Journey  starts  in  September at an  unhurried  pace,  getting  acquainted  with  each  other  and   the  Scriptures,  in  the  Period  of  Inquiry, through  the  "teachings"  phase  of  the  Period  of  the  Catechu-­ menate;;  to  the  preparation  of  mind  and  spirit  in  the  Period  of  Enlightenment;;  and  to  the  journey's  cli-­ mactic  reception  of  the Sacraments  of  Initiation,  Baptism,  Confirmation  and  Holy  Eucharist,  at  the  Easter Vigil.    

Finally,  in the time between Easter and Pentecost, in the Period of Mystagogy, or  Mysteries, the   newly  received  begin  to  understand  and  experience  the  mysteries  of  faith. The  entire community  participates in this final stage of adult initiation by their example and gathering for Eucharist.    

The  community  of  Church  of  the  Visitacion  is  aware  and  supports  each  RCIA  group.  It expresses  its   interest  by  celebrating  with  the  candidates  the  various  stages  and  rites  in  their  journey.  There  is  no  fee   for  the  program  and  those  living  within  or  outside  Church  of  the Visitacion  parish  are  welcome.  


Q.   If  I'm  not  a  Catholic,  must  I  join  the  church  after  the  RCIA  program?  
A.   Not  at  all.  We  are  happy  to  share  our  Catholic  Tradition  as  well  as  the  Good  News  of  Jesus:  God,  Savior  and  Friend.  Joining  the  Church  is  totally  a  personal  decision.  

Q.   If  I  start  and  later  feel  I  am  not  ready  to  commit  further,  may  I  leave?  
A.   Yes,  there  is  no  pressure  for  anyone  to  continue.

If  you  or  someone  you  know  would  like  more  information  or  want  to  register, please call  the Rectory  Office:  415-494-5517

R.C.I.A. 2017-2018 Schedule

Wednesday meetings from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM in Marini Room (Rectory)
Sunday Masses at 9:30 AM (Liturgy of the Word and Scripture Breaking)

Period of Inquiry
September 6, 13, 20, 27
October 4, 11, 18, 25
November 1, 8, 15, 29 (no meeting November 22 - Thanksgiving)

Sunday, December 3, 2017
- Rite of Acceptance and Welcoming – Church of the Visitacion 9:30 AM Mass

Period of the Catechumenate
December 6, 13, 20 (No meeting December 27 - Christmas Break)
January 10, 17, 24, 31 (No meeting January 3 - New Years Break)
February 7 (No meeting February 14 - Ash Wednesday)

Sunday, February 18, 2018
- Rite of Sending – Church of the Visitacion 9:30 AM Mass
- Rite of Election – St. Mary’s Cathedral 5:00 PM

Period of Election
February 21, 28
March 7, 14, 21 (No meeting March 28 - Holy Week)

Sundays: March 4, 11, 18: Rites of Scrutiny 9:30 AM Mass

Holy Week 2018
Palm Sunday - March 25 9:30 AM Mass
Holy Thursday - March 29 8:00 PM Mass
Good Friday - March 30 3:00 PM Liturgy
Easter Vigil - March 31 8:00 PM Mass
Easter Sunday - April 1

Period of Mystagogy
April 4, 11, 18, 25



_F A C E B O O K
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655 Sunnydale Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94134 *
Tel: (415) 494-5517 | Fax: (415) 494-5513 mail: support@visitacionchurch.org