It is already a month since we have started the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) classes in English and Tamil in our parish. We have a total of 16 candidates (12 in English and 4 in Tamil). The RCIA classes are being held every Tuesday at 8.00 pm. The RCIA programs will go on till June 2018.
This program prepares the candidates who need the Sacrament of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion – which are the three primary sacraments. There are other candidates coming into the Church through Sacrament of Confirmation.
Our main objective is not to convert them but to carefully guide them in their soul-searching for truth and assist them in discerning what they are entering into. The RCIA classes are also to answer their questions pertaining to their believe in God and help them to have an increase of a strong conviction of their faith. In the past years there were many students who have discontinued their classes and did not feel ready to be baptised. If they are not ready we usually advise them not to become Catholics. We don’t pressure them and we don’t even baptise them if they are inadequately prepared. They can always continue their classes at another time or another year.
RCIA is a great time for the candidates to search for truth and to know about the God they believe in. The RCIA students should not stop asking questions from the priest and RCIA instructors. They can always rely on or ask questions with their assigned sponsors or godparents as they progress in their faith journey. During this nine-month preparation process, as these candidates are progressing in their faith, we parishioners should reach out and offer our friendship to them and welcome them with kind heartedness to ensure they have a very comforting and spiritual discernment before they become Catholics.
After going through all the RCIA classes and receiving the Sacrament of Initiation on Easter Vigil they are fully entered into Catholic faith. Once they have professed the Catholic faith and entered into the Catholic Church they should not stop learning more about the Catholic faith. Many of the RCIA converts to the Catholic faith fall through the cracks after being initiated and they stop learning the Catholic faith and also stop fulfilling the Sunday obligation. By participating and sharing in the Sunday Eucharist is a state of grace.
Many of these converts including the adult Confirmation candidates do think that becoming Catholic or receiving confirmation is a type of ceremony. They must remember that it is a continual call for conversion. It is not the ceremony but it is a call of God to be a Catholic. It is a life long journey and a life-long commitment to witness Christ in your life through words and deeds.
If anyone who is thinking seriously to become a Catholic, please do contact our parish RCIA facilitators or priest or nearest Catholic Church for further details. We as members of this parish do remember to pray for these RCIA candidates and for those who are still contemplating becoming Catholic. Do pray for them always to allow God to move their hearts and discover the truth that they are searching for.
“Seek out and surrender your heart to Christ to find joy…and you will also find happiness!”
Fr. George Packiasamy