Adult Baptism / RCIA
We have a program called RCIA that is persons over 18 years-of-age and into adulthood. The (Catholic) Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is what it stands for! You can relax: you won’t be joining the Religious CIA! This RCIA program helps you to prepare for conversion into the Catholic Faith, which includes Baptism, and also Holy Communion and Confirmation given to you in a few months.
Usually the celebration is on Easter weekend. In the RCIA, you will be invited to attend programs on Sunday mornings in our church. A team of people will meet you in a hall-area classroom and will teach and explain the Catholic Faith to you, and share testimony of its practice in their lives. The team is there to give you lots of support.
You can contact the pastor and the director of the RCIA to get started with it. Call the parish office to start off: 301-249-9199.
About the Sacraments
Because Jesus is God, He changed things on the earth just by His coming. He became the Bridge between Heaven and Earth. When Jesus met the woman at the well (a famous gospel story), He led her to become his follower. It was ironic that He was talking to her near the place where God had shown a bridge (or stairway, ladder) linking Heaven and earth. After speaking with Him awhile, the woman makes mention of it, that a prophetic day was expected in the Holy Land when God would come as one with humankind and His love would build a bridge. Jesus says: I AM HIM. He would establish a connection on earth and also one in Heaven, as He went up to the Throne to be exalted and Lord and Savior of the Human Race. The Sacraments are part of His connection now to us—bringing signs and wonders to the Church that we might participate in the holiness of God and the life of Jesus. This is what the Sacraments offer.
There are 7 Sacraments. You will first be concerned with three of them: Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation. We will also introduce you to Reconciliation, and we explain to you Holy Matrimony, and we will help you understand Holy Orders, and the Sacrament of the Sick and Dying.
Here is a short look into it all….
The 7 Sacraments are all a participation in the Mediator Jesus Christ and what He affords to us. "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all" First Letter of Paul to Timothy 2:5
A Sacrament is an outward efficacious sign instituted by Christ to give grace. Jesus Christ himself is The Sacrament, as he gave His life to save humankind. His humanity is the outward sign or the instrument of his Divinity. It is through his humanity that the life of the Trinity comes to us as grace through the sacraments. It is Jesus Christ alone who mediates the sacraments to allow grace to flow to mankind.
Christ sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to inspire his Apostles and his Church to shepherd his flock after his Ascension into heaven. He was sharing with us the holy power we would need to live in imitation of His Life. Jesus said: "As the Father has sent me, even so I send you" (John 17:18, 20:21). The Sacraments will be given to help us in that mission to the world, in that “sending.”
Jesus will want to be experienced on earth as still the Living Christ and He chooses to work through the Church which He established. Jesus said: “Upon this Rock I will build My Church.”
Jesus wants to live in His people of faith who have let Him into their lives and hearts and souls. Jesus wants to meet the world through us. Jesus wants to keep winning souls to Himself.
Therefore, the Bible will declare that “Jesus is the Head of his Body the Church “(Colossians 1:18). The Church itself is a sacrament instituted by Christ to give grace. (It is more than an organization; it is Christ’ Body.) Jesus gave us his Body the Church to continue the works He performed during his earthly life. The Grace which is given to us through the sacraments will help us lead a holy and good life in this world as Christians and these Sacraments will help save us into the hope of the Kingdom of Heaven.
The sacraments were instituted (started) by Jesus Christ and were part of the Liturgical Tradition of the early Christian Church (the prayers and services).
The Church celebrates in her liturgy the Paschal Mystery of Christ, his Sacrifice on the Cross, Death and Resurrection. The Greek word μυστήριον or mystery in the Greek New Testament is translated into sacramentum in the Latin Vulgate Bible, from which we derive our English word sacrament (examples: Ephesians 1:9, Ephesians 3:9, Colossians 1:27). Had you ever heard about that?
The Sacraments are about living in the Mystery of Christ. The saving effects of Christ's Redemption on the Cross are communicated through the 7 sacraments, especially in the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist.
The Sacraments to this day are also called mysteries.
Roman Catholic, Eastern Catholic, as well as Eastern Orthodox Churches all recognize the 7 Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony. The three Sacraments of Christian Initiation (which you will receive) are Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist. The two Sacraments of Healing are Penance and the Anointing of the Sick, and the two Sacraments of Vocation are Holy Orders and Holy Matrimony. Let’s preview those categories, ok?!
Three sacraments, Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders, are given once, as they render a permanent seal or character upon one's soul (2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Ephesians 4:30, Revelations 7:3).
The Gospel of Mark 5:25-34 describes a woman afflicted with a long-time bleeding disorder (hemorrhage) who touched the cloak of Jesus and was immediately healed. There is a fourth century fresco painting in the catacomb of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter depicting this event, which serves as an apt symbol of Sacrament – of the Power that flows out from the Body of Jesus, in order to effect both remission of sin and new life in Christ. The fresco image frames Part II of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the Liturgy and the Sacraments, The Celebration of the Christian Mystery.
St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the smartest saints of history, wrote a whole lot on The Sacraments. He said they give visibility to Jesus’ works. In Mark 5, the visibility was that Jesus’ body gave forth a healing to the woman who came up to touch the Master. He said that there was matter and form in Jesus’ miracles as seen in the Gospels (words, touches, elements), and today in the Church the Sacraments also give matter and form (e.g. Baptism has water and oil as the matter, and special words that are prayed are the form). Aquinas explained that God’s gift as expressions of His favor, and His free gift to us to partake in the divine. In Sacraments—God says “partake in Me.” God says: ‘Here I AM for you.’
Note it in proclaimed in these verses below.
"And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth.”
“They (People) are justified freely by his grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as an expiation, through faith, by his blood, to prove his righteousness because of the forgiveness of sins previously committed, through the forbearance of God - to prove his righteousness in the present time, that he might be righteous and justify the one who has faith in Jesus.”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.”