At St. Columba Church we welcome inquires about becoming Catholic. We believe it is necessary for a person to be both spiritually and intellectually prepared before making such an important decision so we offer several ways in which a person can get acquainted with our faith. We have Inquiry Classes for those inquiring about the Catholic Church as well as classes for those who are formally preparing to enter the Catholic Church which is called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, or the (R.C.I.A). Following is a brief description of the process followed by those who are interested in becoming Catholic or who have questions about the Church and our Catholic beliefs.
The first stage, Pre-Catechumenate, introduces people to our Catholic way of life, traditions, customs, etc. Questions are asked and clarifications sought at these sessions. It is an inquiry phase. The Pre-Catechumenate must be completed before a person moves on to the second stage, Catechumenate.
The second stage, Catechumenate is the period of intense instruction in the doctrine and belief of the Catholic church. We do that in four ways:
1. The instruction is suited to the participants, planned to be gradual and complete in its coverage and supported by celebration of the Word.
2. With the support of sponsors, godparents and the entire Christian community, the participants are led to a deeper prayer life, to witness to the faith, and to keep their hopes in Christ.
3. The liturgical rites lead the participants to a deeper relationship with God and God's people, the Church.
4. The participants are led also to develop a spirit of service to the community by works of charity.
The third stage is the Period of Enlightenment. This is a period of spiritual renewal and typically coincides with Lent. During these weeks the members of the R.C.I.A. class are led in prayer and reflection as they focus on conversion, sensitize their lives in the light of the Gospel, and celebrate the Rites and the presentations of the Creed and The Lord's Prayer.
The fourth stage, the Mystogogia, starts after people are baptized or received into full communion with the Church. This is a time for the community and the new Catholics to grow together in deepening their grasp of the mystery of Christ's dying and rising. This happens through meditation on the Gospels, sharing in the Eucharist, and doing works of charity. The whole community is called to give thoughtful and friendly help.
For additional information contact Deacon Rick Risher at 334-793-5802.