It Isn’t Just for Non-Catholics

Fr. Kevin Dillon

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

All living beings experience growth and change whether they like it or not.  The Church is no exception.  Even though most people think of the Church as an institution, it is comprised of human beings.  Her members should constantly strive to grow in greater holiness and sanctity despite their sinful nature.  When we overcome or diminish some of our vices and sinful behaviors we draw a little closer to Christ and perfect ourselves in His image and likeness and this helps to strengthen the Body of Christ here on earth.

Another way the Body of Christ continues to grow and become stronger is by attracting new members.   It is often by our good example that leads other people to want to join the Catholic Church.  When someone expresses a desire to join the Church we have a program that does just that!  It is called the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults or R.C.I.A. for short.  Here at St. Boniface Martyr we currently have five candidates enrolled in the program who are preparing for full initiation into the Catholic Church at Easter.  They meet bi-weekly on Tuesday evenings to pray and learn more about the tenets of Catholicism. It is a time for them to discern and decide whether they want to make the commitment for full initiation into the Catholic Church.  They are supported and encouraged by each other and the coordinator of R.C.I.A., Martha Pusey.  Currently we have five individuals preparing to become Catholic and with God’s help and grace they will be received into the Church at Easter 2017.

Did you know, however, that R.C.I.A. IS NOT JUST FOR PEOPLE INTERESTED IN BEING CATHOLIC!  The Rite of Christian Initiation compels all of us who have been Christians since Baptism to look critically at our roots as Church, and to renew ourselves in light of our tradition.  R.C.I.A. is really given to us for Church renewal.  It gives those of us who were baptized as infants the opportunity to reassess,

reexamine and renew our faith and God’s part in that faith.  It is a continuous process that begins and climaxes only for individuals, but never really ends as far as the parish community is concerned.

The initiation of adults is for the life of the whole Church, not just the participants.  The presence of the catechumens journeying towards conversion in our parish, model for us the deeper conversion to which we are all called.  Conversion, after all, is NOT a once in a life time thing.  We all experience God’s call to turn around, change our lives and improve our relationship with Him every day.

Prior to my arrival here at St. Boniface, there was no formal R.C.I.A. classes or moderator.  We are now blessed to have Martha Pusey as Coordinator and Chip Sassa and Randa and Jeff Barrington as Facilitators.  All of them share their faith and help guide our R.C.I.A. catechumens and candidates for full communion into the Catholic Church.  Next Easter we will welcome Shaun Banks, Lauren Miglietta, Victoria Danis and Martha Meneses for reception into the Catholic Church.  We also have one more, Jeff Brooks who continues to discern and reflect upon becoming a fully initiated Catholic.  Please pray for all of our candidates and catechumens and for our leaders.

If you know anyone who might be interested in becoming Catholic, please call the Parish Office and someone from the R.C.I.A. team will contact them.  Perhaps there are some people in the parish who might consider becoming involved in the program.  It simply requires you to share your own faith journey with those who are discerning joining the Catholic Church.  Classes meet every other Tuesday evening at 7:30 PM in the Parish Center.  If you are interested in helping with this ministry, please call the Parish Center for more information.

— Fr. Kevin

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