Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist) are events on each person's journey of faith within the community of the Church. This means they are not automatically connected to a grade or age, but are a natural step on the path of faith development.
The sacraments of initiation are conferred upon members of the university community (faculty, staff and students) through the R.C.I.A. (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) and Confirmation programs in the Office of Sacramental Preparation. Sacrament Preparation gives special attention to the preparation of those about to celebrate a sacrament of initiation for the first time. Aspects of preparation typically involve getting to know the people of a local faith community, becoming active in the service life of a parish and attending catechetical sessions on Sundays where parishioners share their faith with the participants. During this time, the family grows in faith and love of God. The length of the process varies according to the individual.
The R.C.I.A. (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) is the process by which people become full members of the Roman Catholic Church. Full membership in the Catholic Church involves a full formation process which celebrates the reception of the sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. It involves a journey of faith and conversion in which a person is introduced to the faith, life, liturgy, and apostolic work of the Catholic Community. Since baptized Christians from other denominations may be seeking membership in the Catholic Church, the R.C.I.A. process is adapted to their needs as well. There are weekly gatherings that are not only instructive in the faith of Catholics, but are opportunities to experience the Church within a small Christian community of support and sharing.
Full initiation into the Church has five stages, beginning with the Period of Inquiry. This is the time for questions, and discovering more about the Church and the life of faith. The process is one of prayer, sharing and discernment. Each person, individually and as a community, will discern whether or not to continue in the process and receive the Sacraments. The Period of the Catechumenate then begins. Candidates for initiation who seek baptism or full communion with the Church will use this time to deepen their life of faith and the discovery of the power of God's love for them. It is time to listen and reflect on the gospel of Jesus in light of one's own life history. The Period of Purification and Enlightenment begins on the first Sunday of Lent, and is a time of reflection on scripture and on one's own life. On the
first Sunday of Lent, candidates are formally chosen to be admitted to full initiation at the Rite of Election. Candidates will be encouraged to deepen their faith and lives throughout the season of Lent. Full initiation into the Catholic Church is celebrated during the Easter Vigil. During the first weeks of the Easter season, the newly initiated meet together to share and reflect on the experience of their new lives in the Church. This is known as the Period of Mystagogy, and it is the final stage of the R.C.I.A. process.
Since the process of conversion is unique to each individual, the length of time spent in preparation for the Sacraments of Initiation will differ for each person. Many candidates find one academic year sufficient. However, the length of the process depends on the individual's personal desires and needs, and may extend beyond the time.
For Catholics that have received the Sacrament of Baptism and Eucharist, and are participating in the faith life of their parish community, we offer the opportunity to prepare and celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation by participating in Loyola Marymount's Confirmation process. These evening sessions provide a review of the most important elements of our Catholic faith, as well as an opportunity to participate in small faith sharing groups led by your peers. The Confirmation process begins in the fall and celebrates the Sacrament of Confirmation during the spring semester.
For more information on Confirmation, please contact the Campus Ministry coordinator for confirmation, Fr. John Galvan, SJ at 310-338-7534.