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Have you ever wondered how a person becomes a member of the Catholic Church?









Who Are Inquirers?

Adults who are seeking meaning in their lives and are open to the message of Jesus Christ are inquirers. 

Candidates for the RCIA process which forms one into a disciple of Christ are: 

  • The unbaptized

  • Those of another Christian denomination who wish to become Catholic

  • Baptized Catholics who have not been instructed in the faith and wish to complete their initiation sacrament.

If you know someone who is interested in the journey of faith, please ask them to contact our Pastor, Rev. Thomas B. Shepard.  

We welcome prospective candidates to consider joining us for an Inquiry Session.



R.C.I.A. (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults)

The Catholic Church is rich in spirituality and tradition and attracts thousands of people each year who want to study our teachings and join our faith community. St. Thomas offers the Rite (rituals) of Christian Initiation of Adults, or RCIA, for those people in our area. This process is based on how people were brought into the Christian community during the first centuries and is open to anyone over the age of reason (about age seven).

             Who can take part in this process?

  • Someone who is a member of another faith denomination who is feeling called to the Catholic Church

  • Someone who has been connected to the Catholic Church for a while but has never been baptized

  • Someone who has been baptized in the Catholic Church but has not received very much religious education or First Eucharist or Confirmation

  • A child over age seven who is connected to the church but has not been baptized.


             If you know a young person or adult – even you – who fits one of these descriptions, please consider speaking with our Pastor, Rev. Thomas B. Shepard at (203) 888-2382, ext. 115. 

We ask the prayers and support of the entire parish community as we continue to grow in this ministry of welcoming new members through the RCIA process.



Inquiry Period of Evangelization


Where do you go when you have questions about God?  About the meaning of life? About prayer or sin or Mary or the saints?  How do you respond when you are touched by another person's faith or selflessness or goodness?  Whom do you go to in times of sadness or uncertainty? What do you do when you feel blessed?


We Catholics have many answers to those questions.  We may seek out our pastor or another believer, perhaps a friend or a family member.  Maybe we seek the intercession of the saints or go directly to God in prayer.


But where does someone go who doesn't belong to a community of faith?  Many of them, too, seek out a Catholic priest or friend. This may be the first step in wanting to learn more about what Catholics believe and perhaps even the first step in joining the Catholic church.  If so, they may be invited to join others who have similar questions. These people, called inquirers, meet with some members of the community, clergy, and laity, to seek answers to their questions and learn about what the church believes.


The first, informal step in the Christian Initiation process is called precatechumenate because it precedes the decision and commitment that people in the catechumenate are called to make.  The precatechumenate period is a time of inquiry. It may last a short time or for a period of many months or years; it is up to the inquirer. It is also called the period of evangelization because in this time we tell the good news that we have to share:  the Christian faith as it is lived in the Catholic communion. We tell it through the great stories of scripture, through the history and tradition of the church, through the lives of ordinary Christians. And because the questions that urged the inquirers to learn more about God and the church are signs of God already present and active in their lives, we listen, too, and help the inquirers see how God has always been with them and where God is leading them.

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