by SHANNON GLEBA, Editor
This year, five Manhattan College students and one faculty member are participating in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program.
At the start of the fall semester, the Campus Ministry office at MC began reaching out to students and faculty interested in receiving the sacraments of Baptism, Communion or Confirmation. Interested individuals then completed a Google form indicating the sacrament they desired to receive, and were welcomed into the college’s RCIA program.
RCIA is a process of the Catholic Church in which adults can receive the three sacraments of Christian initiation (Baptism, Communion and Confirmation), and be welcomed into the Church. While the typical age of Confirmation candidates is 14 years old, all five adult participants will be receiving the sacrament this year.
Manhattan College’s Chaplin, Fr. Thomas Franks, is leading the RCIA participants and understands the importance of the program throughout the history of the Catholic Church.
“RCIA is actually a really ancient process in the Church. In the first years of the Church, folks did not get baptized or receive the sacraments when they were young, they would as adults and there was a whole process of learning the faith and preparing to receive the sacraments. And receiving them at the Easter Vigil was the normal time when people were initiated. So RCIA, since the Second Vatican Council has revitalized that process and provided a way for adult Catholics, or adults, to either enter the Church in order to receive their sacraments of Initiation,” said Fr. Thomas Franks.
When spring semester began, the RCIA participants started meeting once a week to learn more about the Catholic Church and the sacrament of Confirmation. The class watches videos and participates in meaningful discussion in order to prepare to be initiated into the Church.
Sofia Creanza, freshman computer engineering major, is a catechumen preparing to receive Confirmation and has been really enjoying the preparation classes.
“It has been pretty smooth, and it has been casual. We meet every week and we talk about religion and we learn about the Catholic faith and things like that,” said Creanza.
While all of the participants have one central goal in mind, their reasons for joining RCIA this year are all very different.
Carol Bisono, a student account representative, has decided to receive Confirmation this year after she learned that RCIA was offered at Manhattan.
“Receiving my Confirmation sacrament had been very important to me since I was brought up in a Catholic household with very strong beliefs. There comes a point in your life where you realize life passes by so quickly and you never have time for much, especially when you become a parent. I had steered away from church for some time as well because of my busy schedule and due to the fact the Visitation Church closed a few years ago,” said Bisono.
Creanza also appreciates the convenience of the RCIA program at MC, and that it allows her to be fully initiated into the Church.
“I was meaning to get Confirmation for a long time and I never really got around because I moved from a Catholic school in middle school, so I was not able to get it. So, now that we have RCIA, I joined,” said Creanza.
The RCIA program will be wrapping up on April 15, as the participants receive Confirmation at the 7:30 p.m. mass. Fr. Thomas Franks encourages all those in the Manhattan College community to contact him, or fill out the form on the campus ministry website, if they would like to join the program for the spring semester of 2019.
“As far as how is receiving my Confirmation will changed my life well it is already changing it. I believe it will change it even more since it’s the faith given in Baptism which is then now confirmed and made stronger,” said Bisono. “I believe it’s one of those things that everything just felt into place so I can make my Confirmation sacrament and be an active parishioner once again.”