RCIA - artwork 2Becoming a Catholic through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA)

Becoming a Catholic is a step of enormous importance and signifies a deep commitment  both to Christ and to his Church. The Church lays great stress on preparing her candidates for reception with as much care and prayerful attention as she can. If you are thinking of becoming a Catholic we urge you to speak to your parish priest who will be very ready to help you in whatever way he can.

The Faith of the Catholic Church – an RCIA course by Fr Guy de Gaynesford

The course below was written by Fr Guy de Gaynesford to instruct those seeking to come into full communion with the Catholic Church. It can equally well be used by those who are already Catholic but who wish to deepen their understanding and appreciation of the Faith. You are welcome to print and read the sessions as you make your way through the course, or if you wish to select different sections of particular interest to you, please feel free to do so.  Please note: if any part of this material should be found to contradict what is found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Catechism is to be followed at all times.  Please let us know if you should find this to be the case in any particular.

Table of Contents

Section 1: What we believe – The Creed

1. The Most Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit  A look through Old and New Testaments at the origins of the Church’s teaching on the One God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

2. The Bible: God’s Word I and The Bible: God’s Word II   What the Church believes she is reading in the Scriptures, and how the Scriptures need to exist side by side with the Church’s teaching office (the bishops in union with the Holy Father)

3. Jesus Christ – God Becomes Man  A look at who is Jesus Christ and what the Church proclaims he has achieved for us

4. The Church – the mystical body of Christ  A consideration of the Church as the visible presence of Christ, through which he continues his ministry in our age

5.The Church – the People of God The people who make up the Church – the living (the Church Militant), the holy souls in purgatory (the Church Suffering), and the saints in Heaven (the Church Triumphant)

6. What is in a Catholic Church building?   What we find in a Catholic Church building, why these things are present and their Jewish origins

7. Peter and the Church – Christ’s gift of authority, the Magisterium and the hierachy  A look at the ministry of the Pope and the teaching office of the bishops in union with the Pope

8. The Blessed Virgin Mary – Mother of God and Mother of the Church   What the Catholic Church teaches about the Mother of Christ and her place in Catholic devotion relative to Christ and to the saints

Section 2: How we worship – the Seven Sacraments

9.   The Sacramental Economy – God’s Continued Presence   A look at how God has taught and led the human race through the work of the Son, and how the Son continues to be present in the ministry of the Church

10. The Seven Liturgical Sacraments of the Church – God’s saving work visibly continued  How the seven sacraments are the God-made ways in which Christ continues to lead, feed and heal his people through the centuries

11.  Holy Baptism – the gift of divine sonship  A look at how the sacrament of Baptism regenerates the believer, making us God’s adoptive children, filled with the Holy Spirit and heirs to eternal life

12.  Confirmation – the seal of the Holy Spirit  A look at the sacrament that strengthens baptismal faith, preparing the disciple for adult witness to the Gospel

13.  The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – Communion with God, with the Saints and with the Church The Mass as our way of offering to the Father the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – a sacrifice of thanksgiving and salvation

14.  The Rite of Holy Mass   A look at the structure of the Mass so as to understand better what is there and why it is there

15.  Christian Marriage – Divine Bridegroom and Spotless Bride The calling to image in a human way how God loves his creation, and specifically his Church

16.  Holy Orders – Jesus Christ the High Priest amonst his Priest-like People  A look at how Jesus Christ is visibly present in the Church as High Priest and as servant

17.  The Two Sacraments of Healing: 1 Anointing the Sick – Healing and Raising Up  A look at how Jesus Christ is visibly and powerfully present in the Church as healer and physician of the soul

18.  The Two Sacraments of Healing 2: Reconciliation – renewing the grace of Holy Baptism A look at how Jesus Christ is visibly and powerfully present in the Church for the forgiveness of our particular sins

19.  The Ceremonies of Lent   A brief look at the specific ceremonies that take place in Lent, especially those involving adults preparing for baptism

20.  The Liturgy of Holy Week The apex and climax of the Church’s year – a single liturgical act of worship spread over three days in three major ceremonies which come to their high point in the Easter Vigil at which candidates are baptised (or received into the Church if they have already been baptised), confirmed and receive Holy Communion

Section 3: How we live – theTen Commandments

21.  The Law of Love – The Ten Commandments in the Spirit of the Beatitudes   How the Ten Commandments form the basis of the way the Christian is called to live

22. Conscience and the Moral Law – the freedom to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with God What conscience is, what it most certainly is not, and how it guides the path of the Christian

23. The Ministry of Every Christian – holiness and the kingdom of heaven Living within the Church and what this calls us to do

Section 4: How we pray – the Our Father

24.   Christian Prayer  – raising the heart and mind to God   A look at the nature of Christian prayer, what it is as well as what is certainly is not

25.  The Our Father – a summary of the whole Gospel  A close look at what is contained in the seven petitions of the Our Father, and what this tells us about the prayer of the Christian

26.  The Coming of the Kingdom – Heaven, our home   What theologians call eschatology – a look at the last things, especially the call to live with God for ever in heaven