Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA)

Are you interested in becoming Catholic or learning more about the Catholic Faith?  Consider participating in our RCIA discernment process which provides an opportunity to learn about the basic teachings of the Catholic Faith, experience different methods of prayer and discernment, share your faith journey with others, and grow in your faith.  Our program is facilitated by Matthew Hall (mh968@cornell.edu) and a team of students.  


The process by which inquirers  become Catholic is known as  the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults or RCIA. This takes place during the academic year,  and it culminates with the celebration of the Sacrements of Initation: Baptism, Confirmation and First Eucharist.  This takes place during the Easter Vigil or during the Easter Season.

How do I participate in this program?
If you are interested in pursuing the possibility of becoming Catholic, the first step is to make an appointment with Matthew Hall.  He can be contacted by email at mh968@cornell.edu or by phone at 607.255.3514.  

What's Involved?
During your initial meeting with Matthew Hall, he will ask you about your interest in the Catholic faith and what sacraments you wish to prepare for,  and why you wish to celebrate these initiation sacraments at this time in your faith journey.  You will be invited to participate in our RCIA year long program.  This provides an opportunity for you to deepen your relationship with God,  to grow in your understanding of our fundamental beliefs  laid out in the Creed which we recite every Sunday,  to explore each of our seven Sacraments,  to grow in knowledge of Church history and Catholic Social teaching,    to learn about different methods of prayer and discernment,  and  to  begin the life long process of integrating the Catholic faith into your daily life.

You will also be invited to register with us,  attend Sunday Mass, gather weekly with the other RCIA candidates and catechumens,  meet periodically with a Campus Minister,  and choose a sponsor.

What's a sponsor?
A sponsor is a confirmed Catholic who actively participates in the life of the church and is excited about his/her faith. Your sponsor walks with you through the Journey of Faith and shares his or her experience of being Catholic with you. Your sponsor also stands with you at the time you receive the sacraments.

How long is the program?
After meeting with the Campus Minister, you continue your discernent process by becominng part of the year long  RCIA program.   SInce we are at an academic instituition we work around the academic calendar,  as well as the liturgical calendar.

What can I expect if I am not baptized?
You will be invited to explore your desire for baptism. You will attend our weekly RCIA program and meet periodically with a Campus Minister. Also you will be invited to become familiar with our parish by attending Mass,  and participating in one or more parish programs.

When you decide to seriously prepare for baptism you may ask to enter the Catechumenate. As a catechumen, you will be considered a serious pilgrim along your journey to incorporation into the Catholic Church, looking forward to celebrating the three Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil.

During your time as a catechumen you will continue to learn about Catholicism, attend Mass every Sunday,  meet from time to time with a Campus Minister and your sponsor,   participate in a short retreat,   and explore ways to develop your prayer life.   In conversation with the RCIA leadership team,  you will discuss the appropriate time to receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion. These sacraments are ordinarily celebrated at the Easter Vigil, the night before Easter Sunday,  or during the Easter Season.

On the Second Sunday of Lent preceding your initiation into the Church,   you will attend the Rite of Election presided over by our bishop. The bishop receives each catechumen and candidate.   Catechumens  will be invited to sign the Book of the Elect. During Lent you will participate in many rituals, some celebrated at Sunday Mass.  These rituals help to purify your mind and heart and strengthen you spiritually.

What can I expect after I am baptized?
Following your initiation, you will be encouraged to participate fully in the life of the Church. You will continue on the lifelong journey of deepening your faith and prayer life. You will be invited to participate in social activities, discussion groups, prayer groups, and Christian service projects. You may even sponsor others as they prepare to join the Church.