Instituted by Christ, the Church celebrates seven Sacraments through which we receive the Grace of communion with God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Sacraments use visible signs to confer a share in God’s eternal life.
Rite of Christian Initiation
The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults is the process the Catholic Church uses to assist those who seek baptism in the Catholic Church. A time of information, education and formation, the RCIA is a journey of faith and growth in one’s relationship with God, to be lived out as an active disciple of Jesus Christ as a member of the Catholic Church. The RCIA has three components: inquiry; the catechumenate; and mystagogia. The initiation sacraments (baptism, confirmation and Eucharist) are normally celebrated at the Easter Vigil. Those who have already been baptized in another Christian tradition participate in a similar journey of education and faith development. When the person is ready, reception into full communion with the Catholic Church takes place. Inquiry sessions, designed for non-Catholics who seek to explore questions about the Catholic faith, begin when the need arises.
Catechumenate sessions follow the inquiry sessions and are for adults who have expressed the desire to be baptized in the Catholic Church and have been formally accepted into the order of catechumens. Also participating are baptized non-Catholic adult Christians who have expressed the desire to be received into full sacramental communion with the Catholic Church and have been ritually welcomed to the process of preparation.
Mystagogia sessions are for adults who have recently received the sacraments of initiation or have been welcomed into full sacramental communion with the Catholic Church. Participants spend as much time as needed to explore the meaning of the sacraments received and their implication to their lives of the neophytes (new members).
Parents must attend baptism class at least one month prior to baptism date (godparents are highly encouraged to attend as well). Baptisms are usually celebrated on the 2nd weekend of each month at any of the Masses. Please contact John Graveline for more information.
Children ages 7 – 17:
Children and adolescents attend inquiry sessions suited to their needs (this may include participation in regular Faith Formation sessions), followed by a Rite of Acceptance/Welcome at the appropriate time. Next follows a period of family catechumenate formation (during which weekly Mass attendance is expected), which culminates in the Rite of Election and a period of Purification and Enlightenment (usually coinciding with Lent). After receiving the Sacraments of Initiation, there is a brief period called Mystagogy during which the newly baptized reflect on the experiences of the Sacraments and discusses the meaning of ongoing discipleship. Please expect this process to take at least 10-12 months.
Baptism, Confirmation, and First Communion take place at the same time.
The usual time for Baptism/Confirmation/First Communion is at the Easter Vigil Mass.
Adults – 18 and over: Please see the page on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. At Mass, the People of God gather in Christ’s name; sing and praise the Lord; listen to the Word of God and connect it to their daily lives; and gather around the Lord’s table to offer thanksgiving for and be nourished by the Body and Blood of Jesus, in order to go forth to announce the Good News and glorify the Lord in the midst of their everyday joys and sorrows.
First Communion Preparation for Children Children who have been baptized Catholic and are enrolled in our 2nd grade Faith Formation program are prepared for their First Communion. Weekly attendance at the sessions are expected as well as attendance at the First Communion retreat morning in the spring. First Communion dates are scheduled during the Easter Season, and parents have a choice of dates and Masses from which to choose. All First Communicants are invited back for a recognition on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus in late May/early June.
The first step is to register your child/children for Faith Formation classes. Sessions begin in mid-September.
Children, 3rd grade and up, and youth who have been baptized Catholic but have not yet received their First Communion are also invited to prepare for this sacrament. Preparation is tailored to the unique needs of each young person and their family. The first step is to contact John Graveline to schedule an appointment so we can get to know you and your unique needs.
Be sealed with the Holy Spirit! The sacrament of confirmation seals what was begun in baptism. Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace:
It roots us more deeply in our identity as adopted sons and daughters of God;
It unites us more firmly to Christ;
It increases in us the gifts of the Holy Spirit;
It renders our bond with the Church more perfect;
It gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1303)
Confirmation Preparation for Adults
Adults over the age of 17 who are baptized Catholic but not yet confirmed prepare for Confirmation through a brief process of spiritual discernment and instruction, usually lasting 10-12 weeks. However, this process is individualized and may take more or less time, depending on each person’s unique needs.
Confirmation is usually in the spring and/or the fall. The first step is to contact the parish to schedule an appointment so we can get to know you and your unique needs. A special invitation is extended to Catholic GVSU students who have not yet been confirmed.
Confirmation Preparation for Jr. and Sr. High Youth
Young people from 8th through 12th grade who are baptized Catholic but not yet confirmed are invited to prepare for Confirmation through our parish Youth Ministry. Regular attendance at Sunday Youth Ministry gatherings are supplemented by a monthly parent/sponsor/youth prayer and dialogue session where parishioners, parents, youth, and sponsors share the commitment to deepen our relationship to Jesus Christ and his Church, open our hearts and minds to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and commit ourselves to a more intentional discipleship. Service projects, team prayer experiences, and retreats are also part of the preparation process.
The first step is to register for the parish Youth Ministry. Sessions begin in September. Confirmation is scheduled in the fall, after one full year of formation.