6:20 AM Mon., Tues., Wed. & Fri 8:30 AM Mon.-Sat.
Communion Service: 6:20 AM Thursday
4:00 PM (Sunday Obligation)
7:00, 9:00 & 11:00AM
LIFE TEEN Mass 2nd & 4th Sundays at 11:00 AM
SACRAMENT OF PENANCE
Saturday: 3:00-3:45 &
SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
Please contact the parish office for dates of classes and schedule a parent interview with Sharon Weidelman.
SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY
Please notify the parish office at least 6-12 months in advance.
Attendance at a marriage preparation program is required. If you are divorced and would like to see if the Church can annul
your marriage. Contact Fr. Tom, or Sharon Weidelman @ (417) 887-0600.
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What is R.C.I.A.
As a member of the RCIA team at Immaculate Conception,
I get asked, “What is RCIA?” many times in a year. If I’m
feeling ornery, my answer is, “Roman Catholic Intelligence
Agency. My ID badge and official sunglasses are on their
way from Rome as we speak.” Then I tell the truth, “RCIA
is Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. It’s for adults or
children at the age of reason, who are looking at the
RCIA is divided into several stages: Inquiry, Catechumanate,
Purification and Enlightenment, and Mystogogy. Let’s go
through the stages individually along with the time period
Inquiry starts in February and continues on a monthly basis through July. The monthly gatherings are informal and although we have a topic picked out to discuss at each gathering, if the inquirers ask questions we roll with the flow. The coordinators of RCIA - Sandy McClernon, Jan Royster, and me, Tina Miller - are the presiders at these sessions. We try to have the answers to questions we think they might ask but there are times we have to get the answer and have it at the next session.
Inquiry continues for several weeks when we begin the weekly gatherings in August. For some the topics are a repeat of what they may have heard at the monthly gatherings but for others it’s brand new. The difference between the monthly and the weekly sessions is the depth we go into on the topic. With the weekly sessions, many members of the parish are introduced as they join us as sponsors for those who have begun the journey with inquiry. Sponsors are either chosen by the inquirers or are assigned after a few weeks as we, the coordinators, notice connections being made or personalities that will compliment each other.
In November, the inquirers are asked to make their first commitment to move forward into the Catholic faith. For those wanting to continue, we celebrate the Rite of Acceptance and Welcoming. The inquirers are grouped as baptized and un-baptized, and within the rite state their intention of continuing toward receiving the sacraments of initiation - baptism (for those not baptized only), confirmation and Eucharist (for all).
After this first rite, the inquirers become either Catechumens - those who will be baptized at Easter Vigil, or Candidates - those who have already been baptized Christian. And with this first rite we also enter the Catechumenate stage of development. At this point the topics are even more in depth as we explore the sacraments, saints, and prayer with them. Questions are always encouraged at the sessions and participation is essential. You may also notice if you are at the 8:00 mass or the 4:00 mass that after the homily, the Catechumens and Candidates are called forward and then dismissed. The dismissals are a part of formation also. Since they are not yet able to participate in the Eucharist, they are sent to discuss the Word they have just experienced and apply the reading to life in the world as well as delve into the development of Catholic doctrine from these teachings.
As Lent begins we enter the Period of Purification and Enlightenment and have our next rites. First, we have the Rite of Sending at which time the Catechumens sign their names in the book of the Elect and the Candidates present themselves to join us in full communion with the Church. The Rite of Sending involves the entire congregation of IC as we send them with our blessing to meet with Bishop Leibrecht, who then welcomes them to participate in the sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil. This meeting with Bishop John is the Rite of Election.
On the following Sundays of Lent we have minor rites but still important ones. The Catechumens have now become the “Elect” and go through the scrutinies which call them to examine or “scrutinize” their lives and make positive changes to walk in the footsteps of Christ. The Candidates are not called to the scrutinies but are called to a penitential examination of their lives and will experience the sacrament of reconciliation at this time.
At the Easter Vigil, this journey reaches the highlight as we celebrate the sacraments of initiation. As the coordinators of RCIA, Sandy, Jan and I can usually be found with tears in our eyes. Our “children” are receiving the sacraments. The Mass may be longer than usual, but to us it flies by as we witness the joy and effects of the sacraments on each person.
Easter Vigil is not the completion of the RCIA process. First of all the Elect and the Candidates have another name change. They are now the “Neophytes” and their journey has really begun. We enter the period of Mystagogy as we try to make their actual experience of the sacraments even more meaningful. For a while they will continue to meet with us on a weekly basis but then we ask them to come back monthly so that any questions they may have from their experiences can be addressed. As Christ promised all of us, we cannot leave them “orphans.”
RCIA is a long but rewarding process. Our priests are very supportive by presenting various topics and just showing up to say hi to everyone at the gatherings. Our sponsors are wonderful in the giving of their time and some return yearly. HOWEVER, newcomers or past sponsors who would like to return are always welcome.
We could also use some people to become dismissal catechists, (we will train you), and we can also use anyone who would like to help in the kitchen at our weekly gatherings. Lisa Hooten is our faithful helper in the kitchen, making sure we have coffee, tea, and water as well as arranging snacks that are brought to the sessions. If you have a Monday evening to spare and would like to meet these people on the journey, we could use your help in the kitchen.
I suppose in a way RCIA is an “intelligence agency” in that all those involved gain something from the gatherings and the rites. Not only do those coming into the Church receive knowledge and understanding of this faith of ours but it also gives those of us already Catholic a chance to learn or relearn something we may have forgotten as well giving us a greater appreciation of the wonderful gift of faith we have.
3555 South Fremont, Springfield, Missouri 65804 • 417.887.0600