Record numbers sign up to RCIA
BY ANDREW M BROWN
THE LARGEST NuMBER of
people to join the Church since the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults was introduced 16 years ago will be welcomed by the diocese of Westminster this Sunday. Over 700 adults are preparing for reception at Easter as either catechtunens (those not yet baptised) or candidates (who have been baptised in another Christian Church).
At 3pm on Sunday, Cardinal Hume will preside at the Rite of Elecdon service. At this point all those in Westminster seeking to be received into the Church will be asked if they are ready to undertake the journey of Lent, to prepare to be formally baptised or received at the Easter Vigil on 11 April.
Mgr Kieran Conry from the diocese of Westminster said the signs were encouraging and might reflect a national trend. "It's too early to say whether the figures everywhere will be up. But it does mean that many parishes are still attracting people to the Church," Mgr Conry said. "The RCLA course is essential
for this process." Average figures nationally for conversions over the past 16 years, since the RCIA course was started, are around the 5,000 mark. However, in 1994 and 1995 they jumped to more than 6,000, which may be partly accounted for by a sudden influx of former Anglicans.
Technically, a convert is someone over the age of seven. Below this age the procedure is an infant baptism. Most entrants into the Church have already been baptised, though the number of catechumens is increasing.