It’s here! It’s finally here! My first day of real live Catholic training! (OK it’s not training I was just being funny.) I have been thinking about this for years and almost did it last year but here I am! I am so excited! The meetings take place at my parish, Little Flower. I think it rotates to different parishes each year and I think it’s really cool it’s at my parish this year. I think it’s a sign that I am in the right place at the right time. 🙂
I was actually giddy – as in butterflies in my stomach and couldn’t sit still in my chair giddy. I was there at 6:25 since I saw in the Sunday church bulletin that it started at 6:30 but it was a misprint and it really began at 7pm. Which it was fine, I enjoy being at my church, it’s a second home for me. I had a chance to sit and visit with some of the other early arrivals which I enjoyed. After everyone arrived there were about 20 or so people. Some were like me and wanting to joining the Church, some were in the stage of thinking about it, others were Catholic and just wanted a refresher, and another had completed RCIA last year and wanted to keep learning. There were even two nuns who had been visiting from another diocese (I believe) and wanted to be there for support. I thought it was all very cool. After our introductions, Monsignor R. led the first meeting which was an introduction to Catholicism and the RCIA program. I found him really funny and enjoyed how he presented the information.
The following are some of the points he presented on Catholic Church history and information that I wanted to share from my notes that evening (this isn’t all-encompassing, he presented much more) :
- The Four Marks of the Church – One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic One – The Catholic church is one and united as one. Holy – Do the right thing. Catholic – Universal, the church and faith is all over the world. Apostolic – Church built upon the apostles, particularly Peter who was the rock upon whom Jesus built his Church. So the Church’s leadership (Popes) passed from apostle to apostle. There has been succession of the Catholic church’s leadership (Popes) from Jesus’ time to present day. Totally cool!
- The Obelisk in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican I had always wondered about this when I saw pictures. It holds a special significance in that it was in the presence of St. Peter the Apostle when he was martyred. It quite possibly was the last thing that St. Peter saw when he died. I find things like that incredibly interesting and had to share it.
- Catholic The term “Catholic” was first used by St. Ignatius of Antioch
- There are 28 Different Rites of Worship in the Catholic Church I had known there were more than the traditional Roman rite, but wow 28! There are six Latin/Western rites and twenty-two Oriental/Eastern rites. That adds up to about 1.12 billion Catholics in the world. How did this many rites come to be? Well, after Jesus died, the apostles (Particularly James, Peter, Paul, John, and Thomas) spread all over and different rites (style of worship) came to be. At the head of all these rites is the Pope.
- The Structure of the Church At the head of the Catholic Church is the Pope. The word Pope comes from the Greek (Pappas) and it means, “Father.” Pontiff is also a common way he is referred as and that word means, “bridge builder.” The Pope is the direct successor of St. Peter the Apostle. As Peter’s successor, it is believed that special gifts are bestowed upon the Pope by God. Below the Pope are the Cardinals (word meaning “hinge“). Within the category of Cardinals there are sub-categories, some of those being able to elect the next Pope (not all Cardinals have that capability). Some of the sub-categories of Cardinal are an Apostolic Nuncio (The Pope’s US representative) and the Permanent Observer of the Holy See at the UN (The Pope’s UN representative). Under the Cardinals are the Bishops which have three categories, archbishop, auxiliary bishop, and coadjutor bishop.
Please keep in mind these were from my notes from my RCIA meeting. If you have any more questions I invite you to contact your local parish for clarification. I am happy to help but I am just learning too!
So what is RCIA? RCIA stands for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. There is no commitment to become Catholic at the end and mine does not cost anything. It takes place over the next nine months and ends at Easter Vigil. If you choose to do so, you will officially enter the Catholic Church at this point. They do ask that you attend Sunday Mass and Holy Days of Obligation during this period. Which if you are making an inquiry into the Catholic Church, it does make sense to attend worship services as that will broaden and strengthen what you are learning in the RCIA meetings.
If you have more questions or are interested in becoming Catholic please contact your local parish or follow the active link to my diocese webpage on RCIA. I do hope that others will join me on this path. If you do, please tell your story! I want to hear it!