Holy Spirit - Thornbury East  ||  St Anthony - Alphington

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults

As John stood by the river Jordan with two of his disciples, Jesus passed, and John stared at him and said, ‘Look, there is the Lamb of God’. Hearing this, the two disciples followed Jesus. Jesus turned round, saw them following and said, ‘What do you want?’ They answered, ‘Rabbi - which means Teacher - ‘where do  you live?’ ‘Come and see’ he replied; so they went and saw where he lived and stayed with him the rest of the day. ( John 1:35-39)

This scripture passage is at the very heart of Rite of the Christian Initiation of Adults, just as the disciples saw Jesus and answered his invitation to “Come and See” so too our Catechumens and Candidates hear the call and respond.

The RCIA team which consists of parishioners gathers once a month from September to December and fortnightly from February to Easter Vigil. We offer an opportunity to come together in a small group to learn more about our Catholic faith.

Sessions focus on the teachings and experience of the Catholic faith and prepare individuals to celebrate the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist during the Easter season. The RCIA process has changed the lives of many people who have heard Jesus’ call to “Come and See” and responded. It has also deepened and renewed the lives of those who have chosen to accompany them in their journey of Faith as well as the Parish Community. Everyone is invited and welcomed to participate in the process.

Some Reflections from our RCIA participants
I am Laura Robinson, my husband David and I have two lovely children Jessica (2 1/2) and Alex (1). My RCIA  journey  here at St. Anthony’s  has been a wondrous, joyous and amazing start to formalize my initiation into the Catholic Church. For me it  is also a wonderful way of being welcomed into St Anthony’s parish with all the parishioners always smiling and friendly, even when my children were unruly! For me my faith has come and gone throughout my life, but now with my own children I feel the need to formalize this and I feel it is the right time to do so. My father always wanted me to choose my faith so here I am….  My RCIA journey has also been a wonderful introduction to the warm, caring, delightful and welcoming parish of St Anthony's. I don't feel like my  journey is really at an end at Easter Sunday - in fact I believe it is just a quick and brief introduction of myself and my family to the wonderful parish at St Anthony's.……...though there is just so much to say and I have had such wonderful feeling of love and belonging from the community.

Laura Robinson 

When I sit and think about this journey that I began not so long ago, I feel enriched and happy in myself. My decision to start this journey has made me realise that  I didn’t  truly understand firstly there is no end to faith and secondly I am always at the beginning of my faith.

Kelly Gorman 

I have lived in Melbourne for 15 years with my husband Ronan and children Damien and Amy. I manage the St. Anthony’s School Canteen. I have felt that I have been a part of St. Anthony’s Parish for a number of years.  My journey to becoming initiated into the Catholic Church has completed a missing link in my life. My journey has been exciting as well as  humbling in both my spiritual and everyday life.  I look forward to continuing my journey with everyone here at St. Anthony’s.

Rhonda Jones

Ironically the decision to become a Catholic has at times been one of the hardest and yet also easiest decisions I have ever made. I married a Catholic and at various times since then pondered over the possibility of becoming a Catholic. However, I knew that the choice was not right for me at those times. I certainly welcomed the presence of the church in both my marriage and in the upbringing of our children. This reflected my own Christian upbringing and the values taught to me by a loving and compassionate mother. Since my children commenced school at St. Anthony’s in 1997 I have been drawn to this decision as I have progressively become more involved in the community. My participation at the school has given me a real sense of purpose. I have had the opportunity to give of myself and experience great personal development. Over more recent years I have also had a growing awareness of how my role at the school has a part to play in the Parish by way of facilitating an environment within the school which is consistent with a caring Christian community. In 2004 St. Anthony’s Parish also conducted a Thanksgiving renewal program. I felt ready to make a commitment to serve the Parish in some way. I have attended Mass more frequently over recent years and many would not even realise that I wasn’t Catholic. Nonetheless, no matter how comfortable I may have felt in the school and parish environment I also knew that as a non Catholic I remained an outsider. This is what I consider to be my natural progression towards Catholicism. However, my thoughts on the journey would not be balanced if I did not admit to also having doubts. I could not consider becoming a Catholic unless I was certain I had faith. Was it enough to say that where I was at, was where I wanted to be? The notion of faith defies analysis at so many levels! Our Parish Pastoral Associate has helped me realise that the choices I have made for myself, and the values I hold as being important to me, reflect a faith that I had previously had difficulty acknowledging. She has helped me see the evidence in the way I choose to be. It was at these time that I felt I must acknowledge that the journey I was on was the right one for me. This was the point I had reached at the time of the Rite of Election. The  period since has been fairly intense and public. In many ways I did not anticipate how it would impact on me, especially in strengthening my sense of commitment.  The public nature of the RCIA process has been surprisingly liberating. I no longer felt that I was hiding as a non Catholic amongst the congregation but was openly professing my desire to participate and be accepted. I also received tremendous support from parishioners as many commented that the process was affirming for their own faith. It felt great to think that whist I was gaining so much, I was also giving something back to the Parish. I became aware that many parishioners were actually praying for us as candidates and I found this to be very humbling. It gave me a real appreciation of the fact that I was asking to enter into a community of faith and hope. A major part of the RCIA since the Rite of Election has been the emphasis on the weekly dismissals. It has proven to be a time of introspection and of gaining knowledge and understanding. As we explored the texts together I also felt a sense of fellowship with the candidates and the parishioners assisting us . In the final weeks leading into Holy Week I was surprised by my realisation of how happy and confident I was with my decision. The Easter services were emotional and meaningful to me, and I felt an enormous sense of privilege that the Rite of Initiation into the Church occurred in the context of the Easter Vigil. The reading at Holy Thursday where Jesus spoke to the disciples about finding something in common with him, reminded me that what we were about as candidates was finding a relationship with God. The Parish as a whole renewed its commitment to each other and God, and this helped me place my feelings within the context of the wider community. The undertaking made by the Parish during the triduum to remain with Jesus heightened my sense of the commitment I was about to undertake. Reflecting on the last supper gave me an increased appreciation of what I was soon to participate in by taking communion for the first time. I found Easter to be full on, but I could not think of a better way to prepare for the Rite of Initiation. I was conscious that this was a special evening for so many people in so many ways. The night itself, the symbolism of the service of light and the vastly different physical environment of the church for the first part of the mass, made a huge impression on me. There was also a sense of relief when the Confirmation and Eucharist were over. It had been an intense time but also one that had left me with a real sense of wow! Last but not least it was a time to celebrate and of being swamped by an extraordinary welcome and acceptance from parishioners. I look forward to the journey that now lies ahead as a member of the Catholic Church.

Lisa Redmond 

Our Locations

Holy Spirit Church
248 Raleigh Street, East Thornbury

St Anthony's Church
45 Railway Place, Alphington

Parish Office
248 Raleigh Street, East Thornbury


Weekend Masses

Holy Spirit Church 
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Sat  5pm 
Sun 10am 

St Anthony's Church

Sun 9am in Italian 
Sun 11am

Weekday Masses

Holy Spirit Church

Tue 9:15am
Thu  9:15am (Italian)

St Anthony's Church

Wed  9:15am
Fri  9:15am

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