Many in the Catholic Church are ‘cradle Catholics’, meaning their families are and have been Catholic and were raised ‘from the cradle’ in the Church. As a result, they usually receive the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, Penance, and Confirmation, at a minimum, as they grow up in the Church. But there’s another way; every year during the Easter Vigil, thousands of new Catholic adults receive baptism into the Catholic Church. This process is called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).
At St. Francis of Assisi, we have several adults who went through the Rite of the Catechumens on January 12th. The term ‘Catechumen,’ in the early Church, was the name applied to someone who had not yet been initiated into the sacred mysteries of the Church but had an expressed interest and was undergoing preparation to join the faith. So why do adults choose to join the Church? Of course, there are various reasons, but we discuss the journey with two people going through the RCIA process in our parish.
Walker grew up in the North Raleigh area, but even though his mother was Methodist, he says his parents didn’t push him towards any particular faith. However, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t around the Church. He played in the St. Francis youth basketball league when he was younger.
Walker says, “Being raised in the area and playing in St. Francis’s basketball league showed me how large and welcoming this community is and how much good I’d be empowered to spread by joining them in faith and worship.” The faith exhibited by his fiancée, her family, and his coach from youth basketball at St. Francis, now his RCIA sponsor, influenced his decision to join the Church. “It’s the example these people have set for me, and the times in my life that I’ve spent helping others, that have made me feel closer to the Holy Spirit, and made me want to seek (the faith) out more,” he adds.
When asked what about the Catholic Faith and St. Francis drew him to the faith, Walker mentions, “I think the notion of goodwill towards others is something I find attractive about
Catholicism. At the first Mass I attended, I felt welcomed by the people I met, especially when we expressed peace towards one another.” Walker and his fiancée are getting married this summer in the Chapel, and he is eager to start participating more at the parish. In particular, he is interested in helping those who are unhoused and sees the Habitat for Humanity ministry as a chance to make a difference. As a final note, Walker, appreciative of his new community, shares, “As someone fairly new to Catholicism, and even Christianity, I’ve appreciated you all for taking the time to help me find God and welcome me to this faith and this community.”
Graham has worked in real estate for over two decades in our area; he comes from a background in the Baptist Church. While active in the Baptist Church, whose son and spouse
are of the Jewish faith, he says he has always had a particular interest in Catholicism. Why Catholicism? “The adherence to a consistent liturgical calendar is very attractive to me,”
Graham says. He continues, “In the past, I have felt more like certain bible verses and accompanying hymns found in the Sunday service were picked randomly by the pastor to
coincide with whatever they wanted their sermon to be about that week. Thus, in many ways, it seemed like the worship service was more about what the pastor was trying to impart than what God intended to impart.” He also finds comfort in the familiar format and practice of the Mass. “The traditions observed within the Catholic Church are reassuring and comforting.”
Like many here at St. Francis of Assisi parish, Graham wants to be involved and be a part of helping others; It seems to be a particular draw here among the parishioners. “I am currently participating in RCIA, of course, and I’ve also joined the St. Vincent de Paul group at St. Francis,” he mentions. The St. Vincent de Paul ministry provides compassionate care and assistance to individuals experiencing a financial emergency. He adds, “I’ve also signed up for the Revelation bible study group as it’s a book that I have always found particularly
challenging.” Graham joins the other RCIA adults in embracing the call to service and wants to become more involved in various aspects of the church as he progresses toward full
membership at St. Francis.
We certainly welcome and appreciate those who join the Catholic faith as adults through the RCIA programs in the Church and our parish. Unfortunately, some can view the Catholic Church as staid and ‘conventional.’ Yet, the Church’s obvious attraction to caring adults who want to live their faith through service to others is inspiring, especially to ‘cradle Catholics!’ Please keep our catechumens in your prayers as we support them on their journey into the Catholic faith.
Arthur: Mike Watson