The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the process given to us by the Church to initiate adults and older children into Christianity as it is lived within the Roman Catholic tradition. It is the way in which we welcome and share with others our faith and our way of life as Catholics. It is a process, a journey of faith, by which we engage with those who are seeking the face of Christ today. The Rite tells us that it ‘is suited to a spiritual journey of adults that varies according to the many forms of God’s grace’. It involves the whole parish and is the responsibility of all the baptised.

Each year there are people who enquire about becoming a Catholic, often with no previous religious affiliation. They are accompanied by RCIA teams who guide them through the different stages of the RCIA process and prepare them to celebrate the liturgies which mark these stages.

We welcome inquiries from everyone. You may be someone who has never belonged to any faith tradition or you may have been baptised in another Christian faith. You may simply feel a sense of curiosity to find out more or you may have already decided to seek membership of the Catholic Church. Whatever your starting point you are very welcome. Please make contact with your local Catholic church who will be pleased to hear from you.

A diocesan core team exists to support parishes with RCIA.

For further information please contact Veronica Murphy.

T: 0151 522 1048 | E: v.murphy@rcaol.org.uk

Rite of Acceptance during lockdown... Should we or shouldn't we?

Since beginning our RCIA journey together in October, our weekly meetings haven’t always been easy! We faced the continuing stresses and strains around the coronavirus, coupled with IT glitches and the unusual situation of meeting online, and trying to have meaningful conversations with a group of people who have never met face-to-face.

Many of the usual ways of welcoming our enquirers were now lost to us, as we tried to get to grips with the idea of getting to know each other online. Our team of faith friends are usually so warm and welcoming, as they offer cups of tea, indulgent chocolate biscuits and friendly gestures, as we relax together and share our thoughts, ideas and life experiences.

Somehow though, by the grace of God, we managed to continue meeting, and slowly but surely the group began to gel, and mutual support and understanding began to thrive in the group. Before we knew it, Christmas had come and gone, and we had not yet celebrated the Rites of Acceptance and Welcome for our prospective Catechumens and Candidates...much discussion and deliberation followed!

 

As a team we raised many questions – Would it be possible at all this year? What about the witness within the Parish Communities? How would it be meaningful if carried out online? Isn’t this a crucial threshold in the lives of those who are seeking God?... etcetera, etcetera.

 

Well, I’m pleased to say that it did happen, on Zoom on 19 January 2021 - and it was very much appreciated by all who took part. Fr Chris and Fr Anthony prepared a beautifully adapted Liturgy which they led from the Baptismal font in Church. Fr Chris explained that they had deliberately chosen this setting, as it will be the place where some of our group will eventually be Baptised.

 

Twenty of us gathered in total for the online ceremony, including nine enquirers (7 from Walton and 2 from Halewood). It was very moving to witness and support our “fellow-travellers” as they professed their desire to continue on the journey. Peter, our trainee Deacon, had prepared a lovely PowerPoint presentation with music (available to download below), to accompany the Liturgy, and this helped to create a very meaningful ceremony, even though it had to take place online.

 

We rejoice with our Catechumens and those who are seeking Full Communion and give thanks to God for this new life in our midst. We marked the occasion by sending them a copy of St Mark’s Gospel and a small wooden cross by post.

 

We look forward to continuing our journey together, amidst the uncertainties, along with all the joys and sorrows on the way.

 

We trust that when the time is right, we will be able to celebrate together in person in Church, in the usual way. We look forward to those times together, and in the meantime, our prayer is this:

'Let your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.'

Journeys in Faith from Croxteth and Walton Pastoral Area

In September 2019, a group of eleven enquirers came together with a team of faith friends and catechists, to begin our RCIA journey together. Here was our first attempt at approaching the RCIA process through the Pastoral Area, rather than parish-based, despite having a long-established tradition of RCIA at St Teresa’s.


Maureen had carefully prepared the room for us. There was a sense of excitement as Michael and Susan prepared the tea and biscuits, and Clare helped me to prepare our focus table and put on some welcoming reflective music. Peter, Anne Marie and Eileen happily chatted to the newcomers as they gingerly entered the room and began to settle down. This was the first of many happy, reflective meetings, when we came together to share our hopes and dreams, our past experiences and our common desire: to live as Catholic Christians in our ever-changing world.

Little did we know at that first meeting, that our world was soon to change in a very dramatic and totally unexpected way, as the COVID-19 pandemic was about to unfold.


Our RCIA family grew closer together as the weeks and months went by, and we enjoyed coming together for the celebration of Sunday Masses and liturgies. Parishioners began to get to know and welcome these new members into their Catholic Communities.


We were delighted to participate in the Rite of Election at our beautiful Cathedral, with Archbishop Malcolm on 1st March 2020 and we looked forward to attending the annual Retreat to be held at St Joseph’s Prayer Centre in Formby.

Then Lockdown came… What were we to do?


How could we preserve our unity, our prayer life, and our care and concern for each other?


And most of all, how could we continue to prepare for the wonderful celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation, with our brothers and sisters who had shown such commitment, and who were so looking forward to these precious moments in their lives?

We decided to continue to meet online…

 

Through God’s grace, in our weekly meetings, we were able to continue to come together (with the help of Zoom) to learn about the Faith, to expand our knowledge and understanding, to pray together and to prepare for the Sacraments. We also continued to laugh together, to commiserate with each other, and to support each other along the way. Sharing our feelings about the challenges of lockdown and praying together helped each of us in a variety of different ways.

At last the restrictions were eased, and Fr Chris told us that the celebrations could begin. The ceremonies could not be carried out in the usual way, but in small groups, following all the rules of keeping everyone safe.


During the months of August and September, each of the ceremonies took place during the celebration of Mass, within the Parishes of St Teresa, Our Lady and St Philomena, and Queen of Martyrs with Frs Chris, Anthony and Thomas as the Celebrants.


These were joyful, emotional occasions, and we were all truly thankful to God for these grace-filled moments.


Although it was not the usual way of doing things, each beautiful ceremony revealed to us the love of God and enabled us to communicate something of that to each other… first Karl, then Nicola and Damien, then Ehizogie, followed by Sue, then Hongfu and Min (along with the Baptism of their daughters). Next came Karl, then Adam and Rachael (including Rachael’s new baby, born during lockdown) followed by Claire and then last, but not least, Emma.
 

What a wonderful journey for all of us!


Due to the on-going situation with COVID-19, we continue to meet online in support of each other, and we look forward to welcoming a new group of enquirers very soon. Some of our members have written reflections on the journey so far, and have shared them below.

Veronica McDonnell

RCIA Coordinator for the Pastoral Area

Hongfu and Min with the Archbishop.jpg
Claire.jpg
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Emma and John.jpg
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The Big Questions of 2020

The RCIA core team has produced 3 short ‘films’/‘PowerPoint with voice overs’ (each one 12–15 minutes) which can be used with enquirers/RCIA teams but may also be of interest to parish groups looking to gather via Zoom etc for faith sharing.

The Big Questions 2020.jpg

1. Relationships

2. Believing & Belonging

3. Care for Creation & All of Life