From the Pastor

Fr. Marc Stockton

THE RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS

PART 3: CHRISTIAN INITIATION

“The next day John was there again with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God.’ The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi (which means teacher), where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come, and you will see’” (John 1:35- 39).

Last week we reflected on the various rites, or rituals, of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, the RCIA. While the rites form a good part of the “how” of the RCIA, this week we will focus on the “what” of the process, namely Christian initiation. Initiation means an introduction into something, usually a group or organization, through which a person becomes a member of that group, with all of the accompanying rights and responsibilities. Christian initiation is a bit different in that it is an introduction to a person, Jesus Christ, and into a whole new way of life, which is lived in and through a person’s participation in the Body of Christ, the Church.

The heart of the RCIA is a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, which the prayer and study that form the methods of the process are meant to foster. This in turn leads to action as those who participate in the RCIA make the life-changing decision to become fully-initiated disciples of Christ and members of his Body, the Church. Through their celebration of the sacraments of initiation -- Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist -- they are joined forever to Christ, strengthened by his Spirit, and nourished by his Body and Blood to carry out their part of Christ’s mission, the mission of his Church, to extend the offer of new life to others by living the new life they have received to the fullest as Christ’s witnesses in the world.

That is the meaning of Christian initiation. Like John the Baptist, we are called to introduce others to Christ, the Lamb of God. Through prayer and study, we are called to teach them to follow Christ, and, finding where he is staying, in the life of the Church, we help them to see that he is what they’ve been looking for all along. Our RCIA process here at St. Boniface will begin next month. Think about the people in your life who haven’t yet met Christ, or maybe who have met him but have not grown fully in their relationship with him through the sacraments of initiation. Invite them to meet him and to grow in their relationship with him through the RCIA.

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Fr. Marc Stockton

 

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