Catholic study series open to all

Published 12:07am Thursday, October 3, 2013

Today, a study of Catholic beliefs and practices, called  RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults), begins at St. Mary Basilica.

This process is designed for those who are not Catholic who are interested in learning  about the Catholic Faith and who may be interested in joining the Church. It is also designed  for Catholics who want to update their understanding of their faith.

Since this study series first begun at St. Mary some 20 years ago,  large numbers of the church members have participated.

This study series is presented in four phases: Today-Nov. 21; Dec. 1-Feb. 6; Feb. 13-April 13 and April 20-May 25.

Each phase has seven presentations. Participation is free of charge. The principal texts that give the background for the lectures will be the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The instructional aspect of the RCIA will be each Thursday evening. The first phase, beginning today and ending Nov. 21, will focus on the Apostles Creed. These presentations will address our understanding of God as creator, as redeemer and as Holy Spirit. Also addressed in these lectures will be topics such as the nature and mission of the church, prayer and life everlasting. There are no strings attached to attendance at these sessions.

At the end of the first phase, individuals who are interested in further studies and who may be interested in becoming full members will be invited to participate in the second phase. This phase, from Dec. 1 until Feb. 6, will address the sacraments of baptism, Eucharist, confirmation, marriage, holy orders, reconciliation and the anointing of the sick. These are the sacred rituals through which Catholics believe that God works in people’s lives.

The third phase of the study series, from February until Easter, will deal with the ten commandments and their application to our lives. Beginning with their foundation in the Old Testament, this phase will explore how the teaching of Christ can be applied to the advances and developments of modern times, such as medical technology, nuclear warfare and ecology.

The final phase, April 20- May 25, from Easter until Pentecost, will focus further on prayer, spirituality and what it means to be a Catholic Christian. Participants will be familiarized with the Scriptural foundation of the Church’s teachings as well as the creeds, decrees of church councils and special documents from church leaders. The different phases of the RCIA will attempt to dispel the myths and misinformation that surround the church. Participants who are considering becoming members will be expected to attend one of the worship services, called the Mass, each weekend. Special information on the format, history and meaning of the Mass will be given to them. Participants will also be encouraged to develop one or more styles of personal prayer. Personal and spiritual guidance will be provided for those who request it.

Meetings will begin with a light supper that is served from 6 to 6:30 p.m. in the Family Life Center, 612 Main St. The lectures begin at 6:30 p.m., and these are followed by a short practical application. A short break for fellowship and dessert will take place and final discussion, and questions will conclude at 8 p.m.

Babysitting will be provided for those who need this. Anyone who needs further information may call the church office at 601-445-5616. An invitation is hereby extended to all interested individuals.


The Rev. David O’Connor is father and pastor of St. Mary and Assumption parishes in Natchez. He can be reached at