In less than 12 hours, I will have gone through the Rite of Welcome at the Catholic Church I've been attending. This signals the end of the inquiry phase for both Catechumens & Candidates. Catechumens (unbaptised) are "accepted" to pursue faith in the Catholic Church. Candidates (those previously baptised) are "welcomed" to pursue the fullness of existing faith. Both groups will enter into a new phase of the RICA journey- the teaching phase. This is where the nitty gritty begins.
I'm terrified. I'm not sure why. Perhaps the gravity of what I'm about to do is starting to sink in. Perhaps its the fact that I will have to enter the church in precession with the others & stand in front, on display for all to see. My name will be read for all to hear. All my life as a Christian, its hard to believe I've never made such a public declaration of faith (aside from my baptism). Truth be told, I've not had much occasion to. Even my baptism was witnessed by just a small group of people. Symbolic traditions don't seem to have much merit where I come from, but the Catholic Church is full of them. This is an aspect I both love & shy away from. I love the idea of rites & rituals, traditions & symbolism because these things help bring faith to life for me. Yet I am scared to be seen, to be known, to be held accountable- perhaps for the fact that I've been able to remain otherwise up to now.
I'm told there's nothing to fear... Countless others have done it... but all day today, I've had thoughts of dropping out or making excuses not to be there. It surprised me because I've been looking forward to this day since I started RCIA. To me, the Rite of Welcome is a pivotal point in my journey. How can I possibly abandon the pursuit now just because I'm afraid to be known?