RCIA – Adults

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The RCIA process is for you if…

  1. You are not baptized but are interested in learning more about becoming a Catholic Christian, OR
  2. You have been baptized in a non-Catholic ecclesial community (e.g. Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, Evangelical, Non-Denominational, etc.) but are interested in joining the Catholic Church, OR
  3. You have been baptized as a Catholic, but you never received the sacraments of First Eucharist and Confirmation.

There are two tracks: for Adults, and for Children and Youth.  Check out the page for RCIA for Children and Youth for more information on that track.

Baptism in 2014What’s the first step?

If there are Inquiry classes currently taking place, then you can just show up!  Before that, or shortly afterward, you should call John Kovacs in the parish office to set up an initial interview, 281-286-7729, john.kovacs@stclarehouston.org.

What exactly is Inquiry?

Inquiry is a period of initial exploring of what the Catholic Church teaches.  It is a time to ask questions and discuss anything that may be troubling you.  There is no commitment required.  Inquirers can come and go as they please.  At the end of the Inquiry, at a second interview, candidates decide if they want to continue to the second stage, which is the Catechumenate.

How does Inquiry work?

There are two kinds of Inquiry that we offer at St. Clare:  Formal Inquiry and Informal Inquiry.

Formal Inquiry:

We provide formal Inquiry classes once per year, starting during the Easter season, for those who would like a broad overview of the Catholic faith in a formal setting.  These 11 classes will cover some of the most important topics within Catholicism, and hopefully they will be thought provoking and stir up questions within you.

The classes meet from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday nights in Room 1 of the school, according to the schedule below.

Informal Inquiry:

If you would like to begin Inquiry, but the formal classes have already taken place, and/or perhaps the upcoming classes are still a long way away, then you can participate in what we call Informal Inquiry. This begins with the initial interview with the RCIA Director, John Kovacs, who will work with you individually to determine what your needs are, how best to get your questions answered, and what way you can get a broad overview of what the Catholic Church teaches, yet without going through the formal classes.

What is the cut-off date for beginning?

You can begin the Formal Inquiry any time that the classes are going on.  The purpose is to serve your needs, so if you miss some classes, you can arrange to make them up (by coming in and watching the corresponding video on your own).

Informal Inquiry is even more flexible.  You can begin this any time of the year.

However, in order to enter the second stage of the RCIA, the Catechumenate, the cut-off date is the Rite of Acceptance and Welcome, which is usually in August of each year.  (See the schedule below.) This cut-off date is necessary to ensure that each participant receives an appropriate acquaintance with the full gamut of Catholic doctrines, and thereby get out of the RCIA process as much as possible.  At the end of the process, an informed decision about becoming Catholic should be based on having gone through all of the classes–and having had the time to process and assimilate these doctrines, so that they become alive in our hearts and the basis for our lives.  There should be no rush to become Catholic–the Church will still be here!

If you miss the cut-off date, then, John Kovacs will work with you individually (that is, via the Informal Inquiry) and accompany you until the Catechumenate begins the following year.  So, don’t give up!  Nothing happens by accident, but all is part of God’s plan.  If you miss the cut-off date, don’t think of it as a loss, but as an opportunity.

What’s the upcoming/current schedule for RCIA?

  • Inquiry
    • Formal Inquiry – Tuesday evenings, 7:00 – 8:30 pm.  See below for the dates of the next set of classes.
    • Informal Inquiry – Contact John Kovacs in the parish office to find out more and to schedule an initial interview.
  • Catechumenate
    • Rite of Acceptance and Welcome – Sunday, August 13, 2017, at the 9:00 a.m. Mass
    • Breaking Open the Word (BOW) – Sundays, at the 9:00 a.m. Mass, starting August 13, 2017 through March 25, 2018
    • Catechumenate Classes – Sundays, after the BOW ends, from 10:15 am to 12:00 pm, starting August 13, 2017 through the Sunday before Lent begins
    • Prayer WorkshopSaturday, September 16, 2017, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
    • Theology of the Body Workshop –  Saturday, November 4, 2017, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
    • Reconciliation WorkshopSaturday, March 10, 2018, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
  • Purification and Enlightenment
    • Purification and Enlightenment Classes – Sundays, after the BOW ends, from 10:15 am to 12:00 pm, starting the First Sunday of Lent through Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter)
    • Rite of Sending – Sunday, February 18, 2018, at the 9:00 am Mass at St. Clare
    • Rite of Election & Call to Continuing Conversion – Sunday, February 18, 2018, time and location TBD (in the afternoon or evening at another location in Houston)
    • Penitential Rite – Sunday, February 25, 2018, at the 9:00 am Mass
    • First Scrutiny – Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the 9:00 am Mass
    • Second Scrutiny – Sunday, March 11, 2018, at the 9:00 am Mass
    • Third Scrutiny – Sunday, March 18, at the 9:00 am Mass
    • Rehearsal for the Easter Vigil – Saturday, March 31, 2018, in the morning.  Meet at 9:00 am for Preparation Rites, then proceed afterward to the Rehearsal.
    • Easter Vigil – Saturday, March 31, 2018, in the evening.  Vigil start time TBA.
    • Easter Sunday – Sunday, April 1, 2018 — Celebrate with your families!  No class!
  • Mystagogy
    • Mystagogy Classes – Continue on Sundays, after the 9:00 a.m. Mass ends, from 10:15 am to 12:00 pm, starting the Sunday after Easter and continuing through Pentecost, May 20, 2018
  • Neophyte Year (follow-up)
    • Short courses and follow-up sessions will be scheduled.

When are the next Inquiry sessions scheduled?

The next Formal Inquiry will be scheduled for the spring of 2017, according to the following:
1) Amazed and Afraid – The Revelation of God Become Man 25-Apr-17
2) Happy Are We – The Teachings of Jesus 2-May-17
3) The Ineffable Mystery of God – That Than Which Nothing Greater Can Be Thought 9-May-17
4) Our Tainted Nature’s Solitary Boast – Mary, the Mother of God 16-May-17
5) The Indispensable Man – Peter, Paul and the Missionary Adventure 23-May-17
6) A Body Both Suffering & Glorious – The Mystical Union of Christ & the Church 30-May-17
7) Word Made Flesh, True Bread of Heaven – The Mystery of the Liturgy & the Eucharist 6-Jun-17
8) A Vast Company of Witnesses – The Communion of Saints 13-Jun-17
9) The Fire of His Love – Prayer and the Life of the Spirit 20-Jun-17
10) World Without End – The Last Things 27-Jun-17
11) Tour of the Church 11-Jul-17

What exactly are the stages of the RCIA?

There are four periods in the RCIA process:  Inquiry, Catechumenate, Purification and Enlightenment, and Mystagogy.

Period 1:  Inquiry

The Inquiry, as mentioned above, is the initial time of exploring the Catholic faith.  At the end of the Inquiry, during the second interview, a decision is made whether to continue on to the second period, the Catechumenate.

Transition to Period 2: The Rite of Acceptance & Welcoming

The Rite of Acceptance and Welcoming takes place at the 9:00 a.m. Mass.  Each candidate (those already baptized) and catechumen (those not yet baptized) participate with their sponsor (called a godparent for the catechumens).

  • Rite of Acceptance and Welcome – Sunday, August 13, 2017, at the 9:00 a.m. Mass

Period 2: Catechumenate

The Catechumenate is a time of pastoral formation and guidance.  It is a time of “formation of mind and heart” that is gradual and complete, following the rhythm of the liturgical year and supported by celebrations of the Word.  It is a time when the candidate becomes appropriately acquainted with Church dogmas and doctrines, through a systematic catechesis, but also a time for a profound appreciation of the mystery of salvation in which they desire to participate.

During the Catechumenate, there is no commitment yet to become Catholic.  At this point, we only ask you to attend the Sunday classes, as well as the few Saturday workshops every couple of months (there are three of these; see the schedule above).  In addition, we ask participants to read and answer questions each week, to prepare for the upcoming class.  This home preparation greatly enhances the discussion, and it facilitates getting the material first into the head, so that it can then makes its home in the heart.

Those in the Catechumenate stage participate in “Breaking Open the Word,” which takes place during the 9:00 a.m. Sunday Mass, after the homily until the end of Mass.

The systematic catechesis takes place on Sunday mornings, after the Breaking Open the Word ends, around 10:15 a.m.  At that time, we’ll take a break for 15 minutes, then begin the systematic catechesis from 10:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.

Here is the 2017-2018 schedule of topics for the systematic catechesis on Sundays.  In addition, this schedule contains the classes for Purification and Enlightenment, as well as Mystagogy.  Please note other important dates, as well:





13-Aug-17 1 Symbolon:  THE JOURNEY OF FAITH: Trinity, Faith, & the God Who Is Love
20-Aug-17 2 Symbolon:  DIVINE REVELATION: God Seeking Us & The Compass for Our Lives
27-Aug-17 3 Symbolon:  THE BIBLE: God’s Love Letter to Humanity
3-Sep-17 Labor Day Weekend:  NO CLASS
10-Sep-17 4 Symbolon:  THE STORY OF SALVATION: Creation, Fall, & Redemption
16-Sep-17 Prayer Workshop:  Saturday, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
17-Sep-17 5 Symbolon:  WHO IS JESUS?: Just a Good Man or Lord of Our Lives?
24-Sep-17 6 Symbolon:  THE PASCHAL MYSTERY: The Mystery of Jesus’s Death & Resurrection
1-Oct-17 7 Symbolon:  THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE LIFE OF GRACE: God’s Divine Life Within Us
8-Oct-17 8 Symbolon:  WHY DO I NEED THE CHURCH?: The Mystery of the Catholic Church
15-Oct-17 9 Symbolon:  MARY AND THE SAINTS: Our Spiritual Mother & the Communion of Saints
22-Oct-17 10 Symbolon:  THE LAST THINGS: What Happens After We Die?
29-Oct-17 11 Symbolon:  The Sacraments:  Baptism and Confirmation
4-Nov-17 Theology of the Body Workshop:  Saturday, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
5-Nov-17 12 Symbolon:  The Eucharist:  Source and Summit of Christian Life
12-Nov-17 13 Symbolon:  Walk Through the Mass:  Exploring the Sacred Liturgy
19-Nov-17 14 Pitre video: Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist
26-Nov-17 Sunday after Thanksgiving:  NO CLASS
3-Dec-17 15 Symbolon:  Penance and Anointing the Sick:  God’s Mercy Revealed
10-Dec-17 16 Symbolon:  Matrimony and Holy Orders:  The Sacraments of Service and Communion
17-Dec-17 17 Symbolon:  A Catholic Moral Vision:  Virtue, Grace, and the Path to Happiness
24-Dec-17 Christmas Holiday:  NO CLASS
31-Dec-17 New Year’s Holiday:  NO CLASS
7-Jan-18 18 Symbolon:  A Love That Lasts:  Discovering Authentic Love
14-Jan-18 19 Symbolon:  A Love That Lasts, Part 2:  God’s Plan for Sexuality
21-Jan-18 20 Symbolon:  Catholic Social Teaching:  Building a Civilization of Love
28-Jan-18 21 Symbolon:  Catholic Social Teaching, Part 2: Protecting the Dignity of the Human Person
4-Feb-18 22 Forgiven: Where Are You?
11-Feb-18 23 Forgiven: An Encounter with Mercy
18-Feb-18 24 Forgiven: Embraced in Mercy – The Rite Explained
25-Feb-18 25 Forgiven: Biblical Foundations
4-Mar-18 26 Forgiven: Answering Common Questions About Confession
10-Mar-18 Reconciliation Workshop:  Saturday, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
11-Mar-18 27 Virtue of Faith
18-Mar-18 28 Virtue of Hope
25-Mar-18 29 Virtue of Love
1-Apr-18 Easter Week:  NO CLASS
8-Apr-18 30 THE COURAGE TO BE CATHOLIC: The Gifts of the Holy Spirit & Apostolic Faith
15-Apr-18 31 The Universal Call to Holiness
22-Apr-18 32 LIGHT OF THE WORLD: A Study of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount
29-Apr-18 33 The Priesthood of the Faithful and Evangelization
6-May-18 34 DIES DOMINI: Learning to Live the Lord’s Day Today
13-May-18 Mother’s Day:  NO CLASS
20-May-18 35 What Should I Do Now?

Transition to Period 3:  The Rite of Sending and Election

  • Rite of Sending – Sunday, February 18, 2018, at the 9:00 am Mass at St. Clare
  • Rite of Election & Call to Continuing Conversion – Sunday, February 18, 2018, time and location TBD (in the afternoon or evening at another location in Houston)

Period 3:  Purification and Enlightenment

The stage of Purification and Enlightenment coincides with the liturgical season of Lent.  It is a time of spiritual preparation through prayer and interior reflection that focuses on conversion of mind and heart.  Those in the process, along with the entire community, are called to move away from sin and be drawn into the mystery of God’s love.

We continue to meet Sunday mornings at the 9:00 a.m. Mass, with Breaking Open the Word.  And the systematic topics after the Breaking Open the Word continue as usual, from 10:15 a.m. until noon.


Confirmation 2014

Transition to Period 4:  Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil

  • Rehearsal for the Easter Vigil – Saturday, March 31, 2018, in the morning.  Meet at 9:00 am for Preparation Rites, then proceed afterward to the Rehearsal.
  • Easter Vigil – Saturday, March 31, 2018, in the evening.  Vigil start time TBA.

Period 4:  Mystagogy

This is a time to grow deeper in our understanding of the Paschal Mystery and to actively live it through meditation on the Gospel, sharing in the Eucharist and doing works of charity.  The period of Mystagogy really lasts our entire life, as we continually embrace and celebrate the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ in our own lives.

During the period of Mystagogy, we continue to meet on Sunday mornings for our weekly classes, from 10:15 a.m. until noon, continuing until Pentecost.

Updated 9-8-17/jwk
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