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 14, 2016, at the 9:00 a.m. Mass
    • Breaking Open the Word (BOW) – Sundays, at the 9:00 a.m. Mass, starting August 14, 2016 through April 9, 2017
    • Catechumenate Classes – Sundays, after the BOW ends, from 10:15 am to 12:00 pm, starting August 14, 2016 through the Sunday before Lent begins
    • Prayer WorkshopSaturday, September 10, 2016, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
    • Theology of the Body Workshop –  Saturday, November 12, 2016, 8:45 am – 3:00 pm
    • Reconciliation WorkshopSaturday, February 4, 2017, 9:00 am to 2:00 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, March 5, 2017, at the 9:00 am Mass at St. Clare
    • Rite of Election & Call to Continuing Conversion – Sunday, March 5, 2017, time and location TBD (in the afternoon or evening at another location in Houston)
    • Penitential Rite – Sunday, March 12, 2017, at the 9:00 am Mass
    • First Scrutiny – Sunday, March 19, 2017, at the 9:00 am Mass
    • Second Scrutiny – Sunday, March 26, 2017, at the 9:00 am Mass
    • Third Scrutiny – Sunday, April 2, 2017, at the 9:00 am Mass
    • Rehearsal for the Easter Vigil – Saturday, April 15, 2017, in the morning.  Meet at 9:00 am for Preparation Rites, then proceed afterward to the Rehearsal.
    • Easter Vigil – Saturday, April 15, 2017, in the evening.  Vigil begins at 8:30 pm.   All RCIA participants should check-in, however, at 7:30 pm.
    • Easter Sunday – Sunday, April 16, 2017 — 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, June 4, 2017
  • 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).

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 2016-2017 schedule of topics for the systematic catechesis on Sundays.  Please note other important dates, as well:

14-Aug-16 1 Symbolon — The Journey of Faith: Trinity, Faith, & the God Who Is Love
21-Aug-16 2 Symbolon — Divine Revelation: God Seeking Us & The Compass for Our Lives
28-Aug-16 3 Symbolon — The Bible: God’s Love Letter to Humanity
4-Sep-16 Labor Day Weekend — NO CLASS
10-Sep-16 Saturday — Prayer Workshop, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
11-Sep-16 4 Symbolon — The Story of Salvation: Creation, Fall, & Redemption
18-Sep-16 5 Symbolon — Who is Jesus?: Just a Good Man or Lord of Our Lives?
25-Sep-16 6 Symbolon — The Paschal Mystery: The Mystery of Jesus’s Death & Ressurection
2-Oct-16 7 Symbolon — The Holy Spirit and the Life of Grace: God’s Divine Life Within Us
9-Oct-16 8 Symbolon — Why Do I Need the Church?: The Mystery of the Catholic Church
16-Oct-16 9 Symbolon — Mary and the Saints: Our Spiritual Mother & the Communion of Saints
23-Oct-16 10 Symbolon — The Last Things: What Happens After We Die?
30-Oct-16 11 Symbolon — The Sacraments:  Baptism and Confirmation
6-Nov-16 12 Symbolon — The Eucharist:  Source and Summit of Christian Life
12-Nov-16 Saturday — Theology of the Body, 8:45 am – 3:00 pm
13-Nov-16 13 Symbolon — Walk Through the Mass:  Exploring the Sacred Liturgy
20-Nov-16 14 Symbolon — Penance and Anointing the Sick:  God’s Mercy Revealed
27-Nov-16 Sunday after Thanksgiving — NO CLASS
4-Dec-16 15 Symbolon — Matrimony and Holy Orders:  The Sacraments of Service and Communion
11-Dec-16 16 Symbolon — A Catholic Moral Vision:  Virtue, Grace, and the Path to Happiness
18-Dec-16 17 Symbolon — A Love That Lasts:  Discovering Authentic Love
25-Dec-16 Christmas Holiday — NO CLASS
1-Jan-17 New Year’s Holiday — NO CLASS
8-Jan-17 18 Symbolon — A Love That Lasts, Part 2:  God’s Plan for Sexuality
15-Jan-17 19 Symbolon — Catholic Social Teaching:  Building a Civilization of Love
22-Jan-17 20 Symbolon — Catholic Social Teaching, Part 2: Protecting the Dignity of the Human Person
29-Jan-17 21 Ecumenism and Other Religions
4-Feb-17 Saturday — Reconciliation Workshop, 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
5-Feb-17 22 The Virtue of Faith
12-Feb-17 23 The Virtue of Hope
19-Feb-17 24 The Virtue of Charity
26-Feb-17 25 Providence

Transition to Period 3:  The Rite of Sending and Election

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, according to the schedule below:

5-Mar-17 26 Lectio:  Prayer
12-Mar-17 27 Lectio:  Guigo’s Ladder
19-Mar-17 28 Lectio:  Lectio & Meditatio
26-Mar-17 29 Lectio:  Oratio
2-Apr-17 30 Lectio:  Contemplatio
9-Apr-17 31 Lectio:  Resolutio


Confirmation 2014

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


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.  Below is the schedule:

16-Apr-17 Easter Sunday — NO CLASS
23-Apr-17 32 Mystagogy
30-Apr-17 33 Vocations:  God’s Call
7-May-17 34 The Priesthood of the Faithful and Evangelization
14-May-17 Mother’s Day — NO CLASS
21-May-17 35 The Universal Call to Holiness
28-May-17 Memorial Day Weekend — NO CLASS
4-Jun-17 36 Sacramental Living

Updated 7-21-16/jwk

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