Small Christian Communities
Since the time of Jesus who gathered a small band of twelve, small communities have been an important dimension of church life. Just as the early church kept the faith alive we gather to pray, share faith, support one another, continue to learn and reach out to others through small Christian communities.
SCC provides people with a sense of belonging and introduces them to a deeper relationship with Jesus. SCC is a means of continuing spiritual renewal and evangelization and promotes parish leadership. At Divine Mercy we have small groups that assemble to explore several areas of our Catholic faith such as Bible study, Centering Prayer, and Charismatic prayer. We also offer "The Great Adventure Bible Study" series throughout the year for larger group study usually held in the Dome on Monday evenings. If interested click here.
Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA)
(For unbaptized men and women)
The RCIA is a process through which non baptized men and women enter the Catholic Church. It includes several stages marked by study, prayer and rites at Mass. Participants in the RCIA are known as catechumens. They undergo a process of conversion as they study the Gospel, profess faith in Jesus and the Catholic Church, and receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist. The RCIA process follows the ancient practice of the Church and was restored by the Second Vatican Council as the normal way adults prepare for baptism.
The period of the catechumenate can last for as long as several years or for a much shorter time. It depends on how the person is growing in faith, what questions and obstacles they encounter along the way, and how God leads them on this faith journey. During this time the catechumens consider what God is saying to them in the Scriptures, what changes in their life they want to make to respond to God's inspiration, and what membership in the Catholic Church involves. Catechumens have a special connection to the Church and even though they are not yet baptized, they also have certain rights in the Church.
When a catechumen and the parish team working with him or her believes the person is ready to make a faith commitment to Jesus in the Catholic Church, the next step is the request for Baptism and the celebration of the Rite of Election. This rite includes the official enrollment of names of all those seeking baptism at the coming Easter Vigil. On the first Sunday of Lent, the catechumens and their sponsors and families and members of the parish gather at the cathedral church and the catechumens publicly request baptism. Their names are then recorded in a special book and they are then no longer called catechumens, but "the elect." The days of Lent are the final period of purification and enlightenment leading up to the celebration of initiation at the Easter Vigil. This Lenten season is a period of intense preparation marked by prayer, study, and spiritual direction for the elect, and special prayers for them by the parish communities.
The third formal step is the Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation, which takes place during the Easter Vigil Liturgy on Holy Saturday night when the catechumen receives the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist. Now the person is a fully initiated member of the Catholic Church and will continue to live out his or her response to God as a member of this faith community.
(For men and women baptized in other Christian churches)
Coming into full communion with the Catholic Church describes the process for entrance into the Catholic Church for men and women who are baptized Christians but not Roman Catholics. These individuals make a profession of faith, celebrate Confirmation and Eucharist, but they are not baptized again.
To prepare for this reception, the people, who are called "candidates," usually participate in the RCIA formation program to help them understand and experience the specific teachings and practices of the Catholic Church. Candidates, however, have already been baptized and committed to Jesus Christ, and many of them have also been active members of other Christian communities. As such, their preparation process is shorter than that of the catechumen.
If you are interested in the RCIA process please reach out to the Church Office at 321-452-5955