In 2021 it’s time to come together again

In NYC we are lucky that the risk of the virus has been significantly diminished and our vaccination numbers continue to go up.  We keep in prayer all the parts of the world that are still devastated and suffering greatly because of Covid-19, and yet we are grateful for how much of normal life we are able to resume.

The pandemic has reminded us how important the simple things of life are: time with family and friends, shaking hands, giving a hug, being together.  The first comment God makes about his new human creation in the book of Genesis is “It is not good for the human being to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18)  We need each other.  Social distancing was necessary but it was a huge sacrifice for people.  We are creatures designed to be in community.

Becoming a Christian, getting baptized, and being part of the Church is not a private affair.  It’s all about community and love.

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How do we prepare adults for Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion?

God calls people all the time, even in a pandemic.  When God calls people to the Church, it is the Church’s responsibility to welcome them and prepare them to be disciples of Jesus.  The main way we do this, is through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.  You will often see this referred to simply as the “RCIA.”

Why do people ask about our RCIA program?   

People give all different reasons for exploring Catholicism.  Some people come to the Church because they fall in love with someone Catholic and they are interested in exploring their partner’s faith.  Some people come from a nominally Catholic family but were raised by their parents to have no religious affiliation and they are looking to reconnect with a lost family tradition.  Some people move to the US from a country where religious practices are suppressed and they want to learn about spirituality.  People give all kinds of reasons for expressing interest.

Some people are looking for meaning.  Some people are looking for spirituality.  And some people don’t really know why at first, but they just feel like they feel good coming to church.

But why do people decide to convert to Catholicism?

This is a different question than why people call or email about a program.  People actually decide to convert because they feel closer to God in the Church.  That is it.  That is why they join and why they stay.

What is it that makes them feel closer to God here?  The answer to that is probably the same given 2000 years ago in the Acts of the Apostles:

They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.
(Acts 2: 42)

They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles – in other words to the Gospel.  They learned about Jesus and Jesus’ teachings directly from the people who knew him, who listened to him and who ate with him, the people who were there when Jesus died.  They heard the witness of the people who first experienced Jesus’ resurrection.  They felt close to God through the message.

 

They devoted themselves to the communal life – in other words they joined the community of people who gather to live out Jesus’ commandment to love one another.  Community is an integral part of the Catholic experience of spirituality.  During this pandemic we were all given a painful reminder of how important community is to all of us when we were been forced to socially distance ourselves to stop the spread of the virus.  Ancient Christians felt closer to God in the community.

 

They devoted themselves to the breaking of bread – this is an ancient reference to the ritual celebrations of the church (what we call the “sacraments”) and specifically to the Eucharist.  In other words, they felt closer to God in the Church’s rituals, especially Communion.

 

…and they devoted themselves to the prayers.  So many people who ask about the RCIA express that they do not know how to talk to God.  In other words, they don’t know how to pray.  That is OK.  It’s part of what we teach.  Ancient Christians felt closer to God in their personal prayer life and in the communal prayers of the Church.

 

These reasons reasons for becoming Catholic. They were the reasons given by the first generation of Christians, are the same reasons given today by the faithful.

 

Are you interested in exploring Catholicism or completing your Confirmation?

    • If you or someone you know is not Catholic but is interested in learning about our believes and practices, feel free to contact us.  There is no pressure whatsoever to join.  You are welcome to ask questions, learn, investigate and then choose to either stay or go.
    • If you are already Christian but raised in another Christian community and are interested in possibly becoming Catholic, call us.
    • If you are an adult Catholic who never received Confirmation or First Communion and are thinking about completing your sacraments, we can prepare you for that.

If any of these apply to you, feel free to contact us.

What is the Schedule?

Our RCIA will begin Tuesday, September 14th.  We meet every Tuesday from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM 

The RCIA at St. Francis of Assisi is free of charge.

If you would like to find out more about our Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, please contact:

Joseph Nuzzi
Director of Evangelization
212-736-8500 x365
jnuzzi@stfrancisnyc.org