Journey in Faith warmly welcomes:
- Anyone who is searching or would like to
enquire about the Catholic Faith.
- All who have lost touch with the Church and
are interested in renewing contact.
- Everyone who is looking for a quiet time of
reflection during a busy week or would like an
opportunity to prepare for the Sunday Eucharist.
See below for the RCIA Programme
Or if you are enquiring about the Catholic
faith, we warmly invite you to contact: Father Paul King
A Brief Introduction to RCIA - The Rite of
Christian Initiation of Adults or Journey of Faith
towards the Roman Catholic Church .
What is RCIA?
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults was
set up and approved by the Church after the Second
Vatican Council (Vatican II) for people who wish to
find out about Catholicism and what it means to be a
Catholic. It is the process for formation which
leads to reception into the Church. It is all about
an individual’s call by God (vocation) and a
lifelong journey of faith.
What does RCIA (Journey of Faith) aim to do?
It offers the support of the Catholic community
who can help and guide the enquirer to a fuller
understanding of the Catholic faith and what this
means for daily life. This happens with the help of
a small team who ‘walk alongside’ the enquirer and
who share with the enquirer their own ongoing
journey of faith.
How does it work?
RCIA is not a programme to work your way through
like an educational course; it is not a course of
study and there are no written assignments! Rather
than instruction it is formation- a gentle, ongoing
process for ‘conversion of life’: a new way of
seeing and acknowledging faith in God and a
willingness to be led towards a life of love and
service based on being a disciple of Jesus.
There are four steps along the journey:
A. The enquirer is welcomed and invited to enter
into a period of formation with the guidance and
support of the RCIA team. If the initial dialogue
leads to a willingness to proceed, the enquirer is
welcomed into the learning period (the ‘catechumenate’)
by a simple Rite of Acceptance/Welcome at Sunday
B. The enquirer now becomes a catechumen or (if
already baptised) a candidate. Regular
study/prayer/discussion meetings are held, using the
scripture readings for the forthcoming Sunday Mass
as the basis of learning and discernment: there is a
close link between the formation process
(catechesis) and practical participation in worship
C. When the catechumen/candidate is ready to make
a commitment to joining the Church he/she is
enrolled by Bishop Crispian at a Mass in St. John’s
Cathedral, Portsmouth. This signals the final period
of preparation, in the nature of a retreat (usually
during the season of Lent) that leads to receiving
the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism,
Confirmation, Holy Eucharist – at the Easter Vigil.
D. Between Easter and Pentecost the new member of
the Church is guided through a period of prayer,
reflection and deepening awareness of Jesus’ call to
How long does formation take?
There is no fixed timescale: it depends on the
individual. For some, formation may take as little
as a year (in exceptional circumstances less) while
others feel more comfortable with a longer period.
The norm is for the Rite of Election to take place
or near the beginning of Lent and the Sacraments of
Initiation to be received at the Easter Vigil.
Whenever possible and appropriate we take advantage
of these events because they highlight the place of
the individual and the Catholic community to which
they belong (parish/pastoral area) within the
framework of the whole local Church (diocese)
gathered together with its Bishop.
How is it organised in the Thames Isis Pastoral
The enquirer(s) meet in the evenings every 2/3
weeks at the home of one of the team members. There
is a friendly, informal atmosphere and a short
social time with refreshments before the opening
prayer, main focus for the evening (led by different
team members on a rota), discussion and closing
prayer. Enquirers are encouraged to raise issues
either for immediate consideration or for discussion
at future meetings. An outline of meetings and the
principal areas of focus are circulated to everyone
Who does it involve?
Everyone! RCIA involves the whole parish
community: all Christians are called to be ‘the
witnesses and the living instruments of the mission
of the Church itself’ . At the different parish
celebrations, at each Sunday Mass and in the
Sacraments of Initiation, it is the community of
believers in Christ (represented in part by the RCIA
team who provide the framework for learning,
dialogue and prayer) who walk alongside the
newly-welcomed person in their journey of faith.
Each catechumen/candidate is additionally
accompanied by a sponsor or companion of their own
choice with whom they can confidentially discuss as
necessary any questions, anxieties and joys along
How is RCIA different from ‘instruction’?
There are important differences between RCIA and
‘instruction’ as used to be the case in the Catholic
Church where individuals met privately with the
priest. Vatican II in the 1960’s promulgated a new
scheme by which candidates are offered not just
information but a process over time for formation –
‘conversion of life’. They learn in, with and
through the community rather than individually and
privately. They share in the liturgy (especially
Sunday Mass) and they prepare for their role as
disciples of Jesus in hearing his Word and going out
to live it each day.
Thank you for reading this brief overview of RCIA/Journey
of Faith. We hope you have found it helpful and we
would be delighted to hear from you if you would
like more information or are considering joining us
to explore the Catholic faith.