Christian Initiation - Period of Inquiry
The Second Vatican Council (1962-65) called for by Pope John XXIII, proposed the restoration of the Catechumenate, as the norm for the initiation of adults into the Catholic Church. Accordingly, a set rite was introduced a few years after the close of the council. This is often referred to as the RCIA -
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.
In our parish we subtitle it as a Journey in Faith. It's the normative procedure to be followed especially by unbaptised adults who wish to become Catholics. It takes the form of a 'process' whereby prospective new members are, step-by-step by various ritual, public celebrations, prepared for the three sacraments of Christian Initiation. Namely: Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist. This process has no set time limit. In earlier centuries the Catechumenate often took many years for an individual before he/she felt ready to be baptised and to live the very demanding life-style of a Christian.
A fully committed follower, a 'disciple' of Jesus Christ. There was a real earnestness and maturity involved, when to embrace the Christian way of life. The Easter Vigil has now become the occasion annually for the 'Reception of Adult Baptism.' This 'Vigil of Vigils' now holds pride of place in the scared liturgy, worldwide. All who can, should attend this celebration of the 'Mystery of Faith', when the whole church rejoices with great joy at the resurrection of Jesus and this victory over death and sin. 'Jesus is Alive' Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! We all cry.
The Neophytes (newly born, newly baptised) their 'Journey' having been completed praise the Lord to Whom they now belong will feel so much part of the community of faith - The Church. Which has witnessed their new birth, their reception of the holy spirit and holy communion. Can there be anything more wonderful than the gift of God's own life! In a sense, this is not the end, rather, it's the beginning of a life ' in Christ', a life of commitments to ones Lord and Master, one's God and one's Friend! And no man is an island - entire unto himself.
All the baptised form 'The Body of Christ'. All the baptised have a vocation, a responsibility, a duty to live a life worthy of their calling, so that, whenever they may be, those who have any kind of dealing with them will be able to say honestly and sincerely - "See those Christians how they love one another". Churches Together.