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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the goal of the RCIA or Short Course process?
How do I choose between the RCIA and Short Course processes?
When does RCIA or Short Course meet?
What does a typical RCIA or Short Course Sunday session look like?
What if I’m not sure about the time commitment?
How do I sign up?
Do I have to know that I definitely want to become Catholic or be Confirmed before I sign up?
Who leads the RCIA or Short Course?
What is a sponsor, and how do I get one?

What is the goal of the RCIA or Short Course process?

The goal of both RCIA and the Short Course is simple: to form you into an intentional disciple of Jesus Christ within the universal Catholic Christian community of faith.

How do I choose between the RCIA and Short Course processes?

You don't have to; we will advise you on that, based on your background and previous faith experiences. The first step on the journey will be for you to complete a few informational forms that will provide us with a better understanding of your spiritual background. These forms can be obtained at one of our Information Sessions or by stopping by the Campus Ministry offices at any time. We will then schedule a one-on-one meeting for a more thorough discussion of your background, during which we can answer any questions you might have as well as recommend which formation process (RCIA or Short Course) we feel would be best suited to your particular spiritual needs and goals. Ultimately, both RCIA and the Short Course arrive at the same point: full Sacramental initiation into the Catholic Christian Church.

When does RCIA or Short Course meet?

RCIA and Short Course meet weekly on Sundays. RCIA meets Sundays from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., beginning in September. Beginning in the spring semester, Short Course will join the RCIA group on Sundays from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. Eventually, both RCIA and Short Course include worship at the 10:30 a.m. Sunday Mass in the Chapel of Christ the Teacher.

What does a typical RCIA or Short Course Sunday session look like?

Each week’s Sunday session includes time for prayer and fellowship, a presentation on an aspect of Catholic Christian faith rooted in the Bible and the Church’s teachings, and discussion. Worshiping together at Sunday Mass in the Chapel of Christ the Teacher is also a key part of each Sunday’s gathering.

What if I’m not sure about the time commitment?

We have worked with many students who have unusually hectic lives. While RCIA and the Short Course are our normative means for an individual to be received into the Catholic Church, we do have other means to facilitate this process that can work with even the most difficult of schedules. Simply email Alex Roth at rotha@up.edu to set up a time to discuss and to formulate a plan that will work best for you.  

How do I sign up?

Come to one of our Information Sessions, which take place at the start and end of the fall semester, or email Alex Roth at any time. Since RCIA is a year-long process, registration typically closes in late-September. In addition, because there is only a spring cohort for the Short Course, registration for it typically closes within two weeks of the start of the spring semester. If you find yourself interested in becoming Catholic and it’s outside of one of these registration times, please email Alex to begin the process in a one-on-one setting.

Do I have to know that I definitely want to become Catholic or be Confirmed before I sign up?

While some individuals come to us knowing that they are ready to become Catholic Christians or celebrate their Confirmation, the majority of our participants are simply open to this possibility.  Both RCIA and the Short Course are meant to be processes of discernment, meaning they are meant to provide the space and time you need to ask questions and learn more about the beliefs and life of Catholic Christians. Ask all the questions that you want!  We hope to help you find meaningful answers. Ultimately the decision to become a Catholic Christian or be Confirmed is one that only you can make, all under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. 

Who leads the RCIA or Short Course?

Our director of Sacramental Preparation is Alex Roth, Campus Minister for Catechesis and Evangelization, but the one really in charge is the Holy Spirit! Together with the entire community of faith, Alex is assisted with by team of undergraduate students as well as faculty and staff who lead the RCIA and Short Course weekly sessions.

What is a sponsor, and how do I get one?

Each individual in RCIA or the Short Course undertakes this journey with the guidance of a mentor-in-faith known as a sponsor. Sponsors are fully-initiated (baptized, confirmed, and have received First Communion), practicing, faith-filled Catholic Christians who desire to share their faith with those journeying toward becoming Catholic or getting Confirmed in the Church.  Sponsors attend all RCIA or Short Course sessions and events with their candidate.  You are welcome to select your own sponsor (as long as they meet the above criteria), or we can help match you up with one.  If you’re a Catholic interested in serving as a sponsor, please email Alex Roth, or attend one of our Information Sessions at the beginning and end of the fall semester.