Sacraments of Initiation.
Becoming a disciple of Jesus is a life long journey. For most people this journey is accompanied by initiation in several stages. Some begin the stages of the journey as infants, some as adults. The journey can happen rapidly or slowly. However, in all cases some essential elements are always present:
- Baptism - acceptance of the Gospel, entailing conversion (either before or after Baptism)
- Confirmation - the outpouring of the Holy Spirit,
- Communion - and admission to Eucharistic .
* For infants, baptism usually occurs within months of birth and requires a post-baptismal instruction by way of family who live the life called for by the Gospel. The local church community also has a role to play in helping the growing child to know and love God and neighbour.
In the Diocese of Broken Bay the Sacramental Process continues after a child has reached the age of 7/8 with the reception of Confirmation. Coming to Communion for the first time at Sunday Eucharist usually occurs in the following year after the family and community have prepared the child. The reception of Reconciliation is included with the preparation for Communion.
The preparation for Confirmation, Reconciliation and first Eucharist of children takes place within the family with assistance and facilitation by members of the parish community.
* For children, aged 10 to 18 (RCIC)
RCIC (Rite of Christian Initiation of Children) is the process through which older children are prepared to celebrate the sacraments of initiation - Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist and be welcomed into the Catholic Church. It is also designed to those or who are baptised but have not received their Confirmation and First Holy Communion
It is the process of initiation the Church asks us to use and is modelled on the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, see below).
* For adults (RCIA)
Initiation into the way of the Gospel and the Church via baptism, confirmation and Eucharistic communion usually occurs at the Vigil Mass of Easter. However, the journey towards these sacraments occurs over a much longer period of time marked by several distinct steps and ceremonies. The steps or stages are found in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). The first step is that of “inquiry” and may occur at any time!