Have you ever been curious about why Catholics believe what they do? Are you perplexed by the Mass? Are you an adult Catholic desiring to be Confirmed? Are you a non-Catholic engaged or married to a Catholic?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, we welcome you to join the St. Mary’s & St. Raymond’s RCIA!
RCIA stands for “Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults” and is a wonderful way to explore the Catholic Faith, regardless of where you are on your own journey. We meet every other Thursday from 6:30-8:30pm with a kickoff in September 2018. Our classes consist of snacks, speakers, small groups, study and social time as we explore the questions of the Catholic Faith together.
There’s no pressure, no fancy theological terms you need to know and no “one-size-fits-all” approach. Our RCIA process meets each person wherever they are on the journey!
Frequently Asked Questions (2019-2020)
When do we meet? As a large group, we meet every other Thursday evening from 6:30-8:30pm. Our first Large Group class will take place on Thursday, September 5th. Although a lot of other RCIA programs meet for one hour every week, we’ve found it’s far more beneficial (both for our team and for you) to meet less frequently, but for a longer period of time. This lets us explore each topic in depth, and saves you from adding an every-week class commitment to your calendar. We know you’re busy!
You can also feel free to join the RCIA Process at any point in the year. We’ll pair you up with an individual mentor who can get to know your story and help you make the next right steps depending your desire!
Where do you meet? We meet at St. Mary’s Parish in Altoona, WI (1812 Lynn Avenue). Park in the lot and enter through the main church entrance. As soon as you walk in, the Conference Room is on your right. That’s where we’ll be having most of our classes and gatherings.
Who’s on the RCIA Team? There are others who aren’t on this list yet, but you can find pictures and biographies for most of the RCIA Core Team members by scrolling below!
How do I register? Click to download the RCIA Registration Form. Please take the time to complete the entire form. It is a bit lengthy, and there may be some information you’ll need to track down (e.g. your baptism information, if you’ve been baptized, etc.), but all of the information is important for this process. Feel free to fill out the form electronically, if you’re able, and return to me (JacquelineEVanHemert@gmail.com) OR bring this completed form to class.
I’m not sure if I actually want to be Catholic… That’s just fine by us! Feel free to fill out the registration form and attend classes anyway! Filling out a form doesn’t commit you to anything. Each person is at a different place in their own spiritual journey, and this process is simply a place to ask your questions and search for answers together. If at any time you find that you are no longer interested in learning more, there’s no obligation to stay!
I definitely want to be Catholic. Do I still need to go through the process? Yes. In a few weeks, either myself or Father Sedlacek will meet with each of you individually to interview you and find out more about where you’re at in the process. Although we can certainly expedite you to the sacraments of initiation if we think it’s the best decision, we’ve also found that there is great value in going through the process for a few reasons. 1) You continue to learn. 2) You meet others who are on the journey. 3) There are dozens of special rites that take place along the way, and the graces you receive through those rites is an important part of the preparation process! Think of it like being engaged…even if you’re ready to be married, the engagement is a special time, too.
I’m already Catholic but I’m a fiance/spouse/sponsor. Should I still attend? Yes, absolutely! Your participation in the process is valuable, partly for you, but mostly for your support of the person who is going through this process.
I have a question, but it’s not answered here. Send me a quick e-mail, text or phone call! You can reach me (Jacqueline) at this e-mail address, at (715) 855-1294 ext 106, or on my cell at 414-698-6040.
We work with an ongoing RCIA process, which basically means that people are welcome to join us at any time! Not everything is offered at every time, but there’s no “waiting period” if someone is interested in RCIA. They can simply show up! The dates below are scheduled through the Summer of 2020. Most gatherings take place at St. Mary’s from 6:30-8:30pm unless indicated.
Click the link below to download the 2019-2020 calendar.
Fr. Derek Sakowski is pastor of St. Raymond’s and St. Mary’s, as well as Dean for the 9 Catholic parishes in Eau Claire. A native of Wisconsin Rapids, he attended seminary in Saint Paul, Washington, D.C., and Columbus. After ordination in 2003, he taught high school for 5 years in Stevens Point, studied in Rome for four years, attained a Doctorate in Sacred Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He is also chaplain to the Hispanic Community of the Chippewa Valley. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 715-855-1294, ext 101.
Father Daniel Sedlacek is parochial vicar of St. Raymond’s and St. Mary’s Parishes, as well as the chaplain at Regis Catholic High School and Middle School. He grew up on a dairy farm with his parents, 3 brothers and 5 sisters and was home educated K-12. He was ordained a priest at the Cathedral in La Crosse on June 25, 2016. He enjoys spending time with his large and continually growing family (10 nieces and nephews and counting), playing the piano and organ, brewing beer, playing Ultimate Frisbee, gardening and hunting.
Jacqueline Van Hemert is the Director of Family Faith Formation for St. Raymond’s and St. Mary’s. After going through the RCIA herself, she was received into full communion with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil in 2015, together with her now-husband Michael. Both were once passionate evangelical Protestants who (with no want of protest), are now passionate Catholics. You can reach her at JacquelineEVanHemert@gmail.com.
Joshua Cooley is a native of the Chippewa Valley. He makes a living as an instructor of Information Technology at CVTC, but his real passion is history, as well as the writings of G.K. Chesterton, J.R.R. Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis. A convert himself, he brings a scholarly perspective to the RCIA team and hasn’t really been stumped with a question yet! You can reach him at email@example.com.
Teresa Miniatt has been Catholic all her life. Her passion for lifelong learning led her to obtain a BA in Theology from Franciscan University. To this day, she still looks to her professors, Dr. Sirilla, Dr. Bergsma, and Dr. Hahn as her main sources of inspiration and wisdom (besides the Bible and Catechism). She can be reached at ClassicL89@aol.com.
Michael Van Hemert spent his high school years in a Bible-believing Baptist church, was heavily involved in Intervarsity during college, graduated with a World Religious Studies degree and later served 2 years as Youth Director for a Baptist Church. Through years of personal study and two times through the St. Mary’s/St. Raymond’s RCIA process, he became convinced of the biblical evidence pointing toward Orthodoxy. He currently teaches 12th grade philosophy/religion at Regis Catholic High School. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional Team Members (Bios/Photos Coming!)
- Cindy Bauer
- Jamie Corcoran
- John Glassbrenner
- Dane Schneider