Join us to learn about Catholic faith

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, October 5, 2011

On Thursday, the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults program begins at St. Mary Basilica.

This is the study program designed for individuals who are interested in learning about the Catholic faith, its beliefs and its practices. There are no obligations that arise from attendance at the lectures. Some individuals attend who may be considering membership in the Catholic Church.

Catholics wishing to update their understanding of the faith are invited also. During the past 18 years since this type of study program has been offered at St. Mary, large numbers of the church members have participated. The principal texts that give the background for the lectures will be the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

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The instructional aspect of the RCIA will be held each Thursday evening. The first phase, beginning Thursday and ending Nov. 17, will focus on the Apostles Creed. These presentations will address the Catholic 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.

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. 16, 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, 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.

Meetings will begin with a light supper that is served from 6 to 6:30 p.m. in St. Therese Hall in the lower level of the basilica. The lectures begin at 6:30, 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 offices 601-445-5616 (St. Mary), 601-442-7250 (Assumption),  601-445-5700 (Holy Family).

An invitation is hereby extended to all interested individuals.

Father David O’Connor is the pastor of St. Mary and Assumption parishes in Natchez.