Rite for the Christian Initiation of Adults
Sometimes adults or older children will seek to be initiated into the Church. In the case of infants, the practice of the Church is to celebrate the sacramental rites first and then spend some years unfolding for them the meaning of what has been done in celebrating these sacraments (this is one of the functions of the Catholic school). Older candidates, however, need to understand what being a Christian in the Catholic tradition means before the sacramental rites can be celebrated.
The Christian initiation of adults therefore takes place in stages over a period of a year or more. First the candidates indicate that they are willing to be joined to the Church as learners or ‘catechumens’. A sponsor is appointed. Then after an extended period of learning, and prayer, and conversion of life, the parish decides – upon the advice of sponsor and catechist – that the candidate is ready for the sacraments of initiation. After a more intense time of prayer and penance during Lent, the three sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and admission to Eucharist are celebrated together at the Easter Vigil. The Easter season which follows is a time of growing into the experience of participating in the life of the parish.
Older children and adults who have been baptised in another Church and who wish to become Catholics will follow a similar process adapted to their particular needs and circumstances, always recognising that they already belong to the Christian Church by their baptism.
Often those who have been involved with the Church through a Catholic spouse or through the Catholic school will be interested to join the Catholic community. In the Parish of Sts Peter and Paul, there are usually several candidates each year who celebrate the sacraments at the Easter Vigil. Parishioners who are interested to inquire about the process are invited to contact the parish office.