Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults [RCIA]

The Second Vatican Council's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy called for the restoration of the catechumenate, the extended and multi-faceted process leading to Christian initiation common in the early church. Designed to respond to this call for renewal, the modern Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults [RCIA] is a program that aims at preparing individuals to receive the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist.

Combining catechesis with small-group discussion, scriptural reflection and liturgical celebration, this holistic process of faith formation invites individuals to explore their personal spirituality within the context of the Catholic tradition and to strengthen their response to the free-gift of God's love.

Supported by carefully-selected sponsors, team members, and the witness of the wider parish community, candidates typically begin this journey in the fall and progress through a series of stages that culminate in reception at the Easter Vigil.

Catechetical Sessions

The RCIA group at Our Lady of Sorrows meets bi-weekly from September until Lent on Thursday evenings in the parish hall meeting room or in the church proper. These catechetical sessions are attended by candidates and team members and, in certain special circumstances, by sponsors. Evenings typically consist of short personal reflection; small group discussion; lecture style catechesis; and scripture reading. The program director or guest speaker is typically responsible for the teaching component of the evening and team members are expected to help lead and guide the small group discussion as well as read opening/closing prayers and scripture readings. Such evenings typically run from 7:30pm until approximately 9pm but never later than 9:30pm.

During Lent candidates, team members and sponsors meet every Thursday evening for shorter reflective evenings that typically last from 7:30pm to 8:30pm but never later than 9pm.

From Easter until approximately Pentecost, the newly initiated meet with team members on Thursday evenings for reflection on the Easter experience and to deepen their understanding of the faith.

Breaking Open the Word

On Sundays from October until Easter, candidates are dismissed from 9:30am Mass after the homily by the presiding priest. They are led by one or two rotating team members in a reflection on that Sunday's Gospel reading in the meeting room of the parish hall. Breaking Open the Word sessions typically end at the same time or slightly after the end of the 9:30am Mass. Candidates sit in special reserved pews directly to the west of the baptismal font at the front of the church.

Liturgical Rites

Liturgical Rituals that mark the end of one stage in the RCIA process and usher candidates into the following stage always take place at the 9:30am Mass after the homily. The culminating liturgical event is the Easter Vigil.

If you are interested in supporting this ministry please contact Nick Olkovich at 416-604-8025 / nick.olkovich@utoronto.ca.

Volunteer commitment

  • Team members are expected to attend team meetings (7:30-9pm) and catechetical sessions (7:30-9:30pm) on alternating weeks from September until Lent and then each week's reflective sessions during Lent until Easter.
  • Team members help with hospitality at Thursday night sessions; with leading discussion and doing readings; with sponsorship coordination; with Breaking Open the Word leadership approximately once a month; with interviewing candidates periodically throughout the course of the program; and with liturgical rituals during special ritual weekends and at the Easter Vigil.
  • Team members learn by doing and are typically invited to participate by the program director in consultation with the current leadership.