Our journey through RCIA leads to our initiation into the Catholic Church through Confirmation at the Easter Vigil. After that, we enter a period known as Mystagogy. Mystagogy is primarily intended for those who are newly baptized, but even those who just came into full communion with the Church could benefit. After RCIA, we are sometimes left with as many questions as answers. At the same time, we are the new kid on the block, and we are just looking to make a few new friends. This period is meant to help guide us, like baby steps, as we begin our lives as Catholics.
To be honest, this is often overlooked within the Church. Mystagogy is rarely mentioned, and it is something I only found through research. We are confirmed and sent on our way. If there is one thing that I could recommend to more parishes, it would be for them to ensure that those who complete RCIA find a way to get plugged in to the parish.
What comes after RCIA? Is your journey complete after RCIA? Simply put, no. In fact, most would think that it is only beginning. Your time as a Catechumen or Candidate may be over, but your life as a Catholic is only beginning. Are you ready?
Now that you have completed RCIA, it is time to strengthen your faith. For everything that you learned through the RCIA process, there is still so much more to learn. Personally, I have learned more about the Catholic faith after RCIA, than I did during the process. After RCIA, I was left with a thirst and a hunger to learn more. The more I learn; the more I want to know.
Life is full of choices. Many Catholics go through RCIA just to get married in the Church. Many Catholics go through RCIA, but then only return to the Church twice a year for Christmas and Easter. Others attend Mass weekly, but they never go much deeper than that. Through personal experience, I can tell you that there is a deeper level to your faith than you can imagine.
After RCIA, there are a number of ways to continue to growing in faith. Many parishes offer classes and seminars that are meant to teach you more in-depth teachings about our faith. Also, there are a number of ways to get involved. There are a number of organizations in the Church that you can join that allow you to serve the Church and the community. For instance, you can become a Eucharistic minister and take part in that wonderful Sacrament. Or, you can join a group, like the Knights of Columbus, where you can work with various charities in the community. You can even go beyond the Church to other ministries. My faith has taken on a new meaning since I began to live my faith outwardly.
When I first began contemplating whether or not to join the Catholic Church, one major factor was that I felt disconnected in my previous churches. Coming to the Catholic Church, I was hoping to become a part of a larger body of believers where I felt like I would belong. Immediately after RCIA, I began to form bonds and friendships that have proven that this was the right choice. Actually, even before I became Catholic, many of the other parishioners welcomed me to the parish.
Sometimes, it can become easy to simply make going to Mass a routine. We wake up Sunday morning, throw on our Sunday best, and head off to Mass. But, I challenge you to take it a step further. Begin by sitting in the same pew each week. Then, get to know the other parishioners around you. Eventually, Sunday Mass will be more than something on your to-do list; it will be something that you look forward to. One of the greatest things I have found at the Catholic Church is the strong bond that we share together as Catholics. Cherish it.