Faith is unique journey for each individual. Many are born into a certain religion, others choose their own, some try multiple and few stray away from God and make their way back to Him later in life. For those Roman Catholic Christians or other individuals who find themselves wanting to reconnect with God as adults, the Lenten season is especially important. On Palm Sunday Catholics welcome new members of the church after they have completed the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.)
R.C.I.A. started as a way for adults who were not baptized into Christianity as children to confirm their faith and join the church. In the early days this process sometimes took up to three years. Today the meaning of the process remains the same with individuals studying the Word and freely declaring their belief in the Father. Since each church has their own R.C.I.A. program, the process can differ slightly but typically lasts a year.
During that time an individual goes through Catechumenate and phase of purity and enlightenment. Catechumenate is the period in which an individual grows in their faith through the liturgy. They attend mass, read scripture and reflect on God’s teachings. Once the individual is ready to continue with the next steps of R.C.I.A. they publicly declare their desired to be baptized in the church in a ceremony called Rite of Election.
Purity and enlightenment are the final days leading up to baptism, often performed during Palm Sunday mass in front of the congregation. Candidates look inward and reflect on their relationship with God. They make their intentions known to God and purify their attentions. At the end of this period they receive the sacrament of baptism, and continue their journey with God.
This journey to proclaim faith is found in various forms in the branches of Christianity. While the journey can be long, becoming closer to God and spreading His Word is a priceless experience. FFHL rejoices in new Christians joining the faith, especially in the Holy Land as Christians in the region are the living stones that support our faith.