Keeping the Faith: Students Undergo Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults

by The Cowl Editor on May 2, 2019


RCIA students and Campus Ministry staff with Reverend Robert Evans.

by Hannah Langley ’21

News Co-Editor

Every year, dozens of Providence College students decide to affirm their faith within the Catholic Church by undergoing the RCIA program at PC.

RCIA, or “Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults,” is a program instituted by the Catholic Church that allows members of the Church to partake in receiving the sacraments of Baptism, Communion, and/or Confirmation, as well as a reception service that recognizes members of Protestant denominations entering into the Catholic Church.

This year, the RCIA Mass was held on Sunday, April 28 at 7 p.m. and was celebrated by Reverend Robert Evans, Auxiliary Bishop of Providence.

This year’s class, led by Father Bonaventure Chapman, O.P., Sister Anne Frances, and Sophie Palopoli ’19, a student coordinator of RCIA, had seven baptisms, nine receptions into the Church, 21 First Holy Communions, and 40 confirmations. 

Participation in the RCIA program this year proved to be one of the largest classes in the College’s history, according to Fr. Bonaventure.

Fr. Bonaventure explained what members of the RCIA class underwent in order to receive one or all of these sacraments or services.

The program, he explained, is nine months long, and covers various aspects of the Catholic faith, all of which can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

During these nine months, students attend weekly classes, as well as a service trip with My Brother’s Keeper, an organization based in Massachusetts that helps deliver furniture and food to local families in need.

The students also attend a retreat held in Duxbury, Massachusetts, where the candidates are given the chance to “spend time in prayer, group discussions, silence, Eucharistic Adoration, and listen to talks by students from previous RCIA classes,” according to Fr. Bonaventure.

Each student, Fr. Bonaventure also explained, had a sponsor, who was a family member or friend that embodies the Catholic message and could act as a model and witness to the candidate in their new spiritual journey.

In response to the RCIA Mass, Fr. Bonaventure stated his excitement about the event and his positive outlook on the program for the PC community. “RCIA is an amazing chance for students to complete their sacraments, or begin the journey of faith.”

He expressed his gratitude for being able to partake in such an important role in the program, saying, “It was an absolute honor and privilege to walk with and guide the students during the school year and obviously the RCIA Mass.” He continued, saying how being part of RCIA was one of the highlights during his time as a chaplain at PC.

Father Brian Shanley, O.P., and Father James Cuddy, O.P., also made  statements about the RCIA Mass in an email sent out to the College this past Sunday, April 28. Frs. Shanley and Cuddy, thankful for the 40 RCIA candidates entering into the Catholic community, made a statement to remind those of the PC community to remember those injured recently in acts of violence against people of faith, especially those most recently in Sri Lanka and San Diego. In their statement, they lamented, saying, “Let us pray for those who were injured or killed in San Diego, and for their families. And let us ask God to grant us some measure of inspired grace – that people of all faiths may work together to bring healing and hope to our world.”

Congratulations to the following RCIA candidates:

Kelsey Agnew ’22

Hannah Araujo ’21

Erin Beaton ’19

Thomas Beaton ’22

Adrian Bobadilla ’19

Ross Burch ’19

Margaret Burns ’19

Stephanie Collins ’22

Sean Connell ’21

Kelsie Cummings ’21

Hannah DeJordy ’22

Carson Delaney ’21

Rachel Denney ’22

Emma Duhamel ’21

Haley Gervino ’22

Bryan Gilbert ’21

Alexandra Guzman ’22

Ariana Hafferty ’22

Maeve Hickey ’21

Siobhan Hickey ’21

Katherine Iwanowicz ’21

Giovani Jimenez ’22

Korey Lord ’21

Peter Mackey ’21

Katherine Markham ’22

Abigael McShane ’19

Cassandra Mirasolo ’22

Erin Muldoon ’21

Joel Nolette

Janet Odufunade ’19

Hannah Pederson ’22

IB Polanco Perez ’19

Sofia Rodriguez ’22

Emma Russo ’21

Samantha Sierra ’22

Jerome Sullivan ’21

Brenna Thompson ’20G

Harrison Tramposch ’21

Mary Madeline Warren-Kelly ’19