Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is the process by which adults are formed in and initiated into the Catholic Church. Envisioned as an apprenticeship to the faith, this process is modeled after the order of the Catechumenate in early Christianity. Adults learn what it means to be a Christian disciple through reflecting on God’s word in Scripture, participating in the liturgical rites of the Church’s worship, sharing in the life of the parish community, and engaging in acts of service. The process has three stages: the period of Inquiry or Evangelization in which the first stirrings of faith are realized and discerned; the period of the Catechumenate begins after the Rite of Acceptance by which inquirers express formally their desire to follow Christ in the Catholic faith and they become known as catechumens; the period of Purification and Enlightenment begins with the Rite of Election by which the commitment of catechumens to seek baptism is recognized by the Bishop and they are now referred to as “the elect” and enter into a period of prayer and self-examination during Lent as they prepare for the Sacraments of Initiation at Easter; the period of Mystagogia follows the Sacraments of Initiation as the newly baptized, or neophytes, reflect on and celebrate on the mystery of their conversion to Jesus Christ.
Ideally, this entire process of the RCIA for unbaptized adults would take at least a year, but may take longer depending on a person’s circumstances. This process is adapted for children of catechetical age (7 years or older) and for those who are already validly baptized in another Christian denomination (referred to as “candidates”).
If you are interested in becoming Catholic, please contact your local parish community (to find a parish, please click here).
For parish resources on the RCIA process, please click here.
Sacraments of the Catholic Church
SACRAMENTS OF INITIATION
The Sacrament of Baptism is the entrance into Christian life and the gateway to the other sacraments of the Catholic Church. Through this sacrament, the stain of sin is washed away, we receive divine life and become members of the Body of Christ with an obligation to participate in the sacred liturgy and the mission of the Church. Baptism is conferred validly through the washing with water and the recitation of the Trinitarian formula, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
Preparation for the Sacrament of Baptism takes place in a parish either in a baptism class for parents of an infant or young child who is to be baptized, or through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process for children over the age of reason and adults. If you wish to be baptized into the Catholic faith, please contact your local parish community.
Through the laying on of hands and the anointing with the Chrism, the Sacrament of Confirmation increases the grace of Baptism, strengthens the gift of the Holy Spirit first received at Baptism, and unites us more fully to Christ and the Church. Read more about the vision of this sacrament in the Diocese of Scranton Confirmation Guidelines 2016.
In granting the faculty to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation in their parish, Bishop Bambera reminded pastors and sacramental ministers and that he would resume celebrating combined parish Confirmations during the Easter season of 2020 on a three-year cycle. An email with the schedule of the three-year cycle of combined Confirmations with Bishop Bambera was sent on July 22, 2019 to all pastors and parish life coordinators, and a copy of this schedule can be found below under ‘Confirmation Forms & Documents.’ This cycle, which is based on the Lectionary cycle of Years A, B and C, was established so that each parish in the Diocese of Scranton would have candidates confirmed by the Bishop over the course of three years. In each intervening year, the pastor or sacramental minister will confirm. This allows for parish catechetical teams to plan for the annual process several years in advance, knowing that Confirmation will take place either in the Easter season with Bishop Bambera or on Pentecost when it is conferred by the pastor or sacramental minister. Please note that there are still some single parish celebrations of Confirmation due to large numbers of candidates where it would not be feasible to combine with another parish.
For more information, please contact David Baloga, Director for Worship at David-Baloga@dioceseofscranton.org or at 570-207-2213, ext. 1158.
Confirmation Forms and Documents
Confirmations with Bishop Bambera:
- Spring 2023 Schedule of Combined Confirmations with Bishop Bambera
- Cycle of Confirmations with Bishop Bambera (Years A-B-C)
- Procedures for a Combined Parish Confirmation with Bishop Bambera
- Preparation for the Rite of Confirmation with Bishop Bambera
- Response Form for Confirmation with Bishop Bambera–WORD
- Response Form for Confirmation with Bishop Bambera–PDF
- Presentation of the Candidates for Single Parish Celebration of Confirmation with Bishop Bambera
- Presentation of the Candidates for a Combined Parish Confirmation with Bishop Bambera
Confirmations by Pastor/Sacramental Minister:
- Letter from Bishop Bambera regarding the date of Parish Confirmations in 2023
- Notes for the Conferral of Confirmation by Pastors or Sacramental Ministers
- Presentation of Candidates for Confirmation by Pastors or Sacramental Ministers
- Bishop Bambera’s Message to the Confirmandi
- Suggested Readings for Confirmation–Confirmation on Pentecost must use the readings of the day
- Renewal of Baptismal Promises
- Opening Announcement for the Mass
- Sample Universal Prayer
- Confirmation Record
- Diocesan Report–must be returned to the Office for Parish Life following Confirmation with the Bishop or pastor/sacramental minister
Adult Confirmation for Baptized Roman Catholic Adults
Since Bishop Bambera has granted the faculty to pastors and sacramental ministers to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation in their own parishes, there is no longer a need for pastors and sacramental ministers to request the faculty to confirm a baptized Catholic adult. For this reason, the Adult Confirmation on Pentecost Sunday at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton has been discontinued. Although past practice in the Diocese of Scranton has been to confirm baptized Catholic adults at the Easter Vigil, it would be more suitable to have them receive Confirmation with the eighth grade students in your parish on Pentecost (see National Statues for the Catechumenate #26).
The Sacrament of the Eucharist is the source and summit and life of the Catholic Church, as well as the sacrament of unity among Christ, its head, and his members. Through the invocation of the Holy Spirit and Christ’s words of Institution, bread and wine become the sacramental Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. This sacrament is seen as the culmination of the Sacraments of Initiation, although for various reasons the reception of Sacrament of Confirmation for the youth has been moved to the age of adolescence. Children who are baptized in the Catholic faith typically receive First Holy Communion around the age of reason (7 years old).
For guidelines on the Eucharistic fast or on the reception of Holy Communion, please click here.
SACRAMENTS OF HEALING
Because we have sinned since our Baptism, we are called to continuous conversion to Christ through the reception of the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation. The sacrament requires contrition (a genuine sorrow for committing sin and a resolution to avoid the sins in the future) as well as confession of sins and satisfaction or penance made for sinning. The mercy of God is made manifest in the formula of absolution by recalling that “Father of mercies” has reconciled the world to himself through the Paschal Mystery of Christ and sent forth the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins through the ministry of the Church. (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1449)
Most parishes offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation, also called Confessions, on Saturdays either in the morning or an hour before the Saturday evening Mass, and is also available anytime by contacting the parish and making an appointment with a priest. To find an opportunity for Confession in your area, please check the Find a Mass page on our website.
For a list of sample examinations of conscience to help you prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, please visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s website.
During the season of Lent, the Diocese of Scranton makes the Sacrament of Reconciliation more readily available through The Light Is ON for You. Each Monday during the season of Lent, every parish in the Diocese of Scranton will offer Sacrament of Reconciliation from 5:30PM to 7:00PM. To learn more, please click here.
- ANOINTING OF THE SICK
The Gospels include many examples of Christ’s compassion towards the sick through his healing of them and the forgiveness of sins. The Church continues Christ’s ministry of compassion for the sick through the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. Once reserved exclusively for those close to death, this sacrament can be received more than once, and is for anyone suffering from a serious illness or condition, the elderly who are experiencing frailty, and anyone who is about to undertake a serious operation. Only bishops and priests can administer this sacrament.
If you wish to receive the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, please contact your local parish or notify the hospital (or other medical institution) staff.
Each year the Church observes the World Day of the Sick on February 11th, the optional memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes. Many parishes in the Diocese of Scranton, including the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton, observe a Mass with Anointing of the Sick on or around that day. Anyone in need of this sacrament is encouraged to attend one of these Masses.
SACRAMENTS OF VOCATION
- HOLY ORDERS
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church #1536, the Sacrament of Holy Orders is the “sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time.” There are three degrees of Holy Orders: episcopate (bishops), presbyterate (priests), and diaconate (deacons) . The essential rite of this sacrament is the bishop’s imposition of hands and the prayer of consecration invoking the power of the Holy Spirit upon the candidates. Through the means of this ministerial priesthood, Christ continues to build up and lead his Church. (CCC #1547)
If you feel like you have a calling to serve the Church through ordained ministry, please visit the Diocese of Scranton Vocations page for more information.
The Code of Canon Law states, “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.” (can. 1055). In the Catholic Church, the spouses themselves confer the Sacrament of Matrimony upon each other through expressing their consent before the Church to enter into a marriage covenant. In a sense, the freely given consent between the spouses “makes the marriage.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1626). The priest or deacon receives the mutual consent of the spouses in the name of the Church.
To learn more about the Order of Celebrating Matrimony, please click here.
To find resources for Marriage and Marriage preparation, please click here.