Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (R.C.I.A.)


Mission: To welcome all inquirers — those not yet baptized into a Christian faith, those of other Christian faiths, and Catholics who have not yet celebrated the Sacraments of First Eucharist and Confirmation — to help them feel comfortable and eager to learn about Christianity and the Catholic Church, and to prepare those, who choose to continue, to receive the Catholic Church’s Sacraments of Initiation.

Talents: To participate in the R.C.I.A. program at

St. Joe’s as one pursuing either entry into the Catholic faith or completion of their Sacraments of Initiation, all that is required is an open heart, some regular homework, and regular attendance at the meetings and events. To be a member of St. Joe’s R.C.I.A. team, one must (1) be at least 18 years of age and a practicing, baptized Catholic who has celebrated the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist, (2) have a good knowledge of the Catholic religion and its beliefs and teachings as shown by Scripture and Tradition, (3) have a willingness to learn more about, and teach, our religion, and a willingness to share her or his own personal journey of faith with the other team members and the R.C.I.A. participants, (4) have a regular prayer life, and (5) keep confidential the private information others share in the R.C.I.A. process.

Time: Team members and the R.C.I.A. participants meet for approximately one-and-a-half hours one evening a week from September until approximately Pentecost, for which meetings all are expected to prepare with assigned readings and tasks to be completed prior to the meeting. In addition, from the First Sunday of Advent through Palm Sunday, each R.C.I.A. participant is expected to attend a Mass on Sunday morning (currently the 8:30 a.m. Mass) through the homily, and then leave the congregation with some team members and the other R.C.I.A. participants to participate in a post-homily discussion and reflection until that Mass is concluded. There are additional celebrations and events involving the team and participants throughout Holy Week. The program’s meetings, preparations for our meetings, and event commitments, as related above, require a fairly high level of time commitment. Additional time required of team members, in program development and participation, is medium.

Ministry Leader: Tom Theado, 440-320-8652, TomTheado@aol.com; 

Second Contact: Brian Sarvas, 440-396-8329, Sarvii@hotmail.com


Information about R.C.I.A.

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is a ministry to adults who are interested in learning more about the Catholic Faith. Our R.C.I.A. program addresses the conversion needs of:

  • Adults who have not been baptized
  • Adults who have been baptized in another Christian tradition, who may want to learn more about the Catholic Faith
  • Adults who received the sacrament of Baptism in the Catholic faith but have no instruction in the faith or have not received the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and or Confirmation

R.C.I.A. is about growth in the faith and growth in a relationship with God and God’s people.

Contact the Parish Office (440) 988-2848 ext 201 to sign up for the R.C.I.A. program.


I have been a Catholic since birth but never a practicing Catholic.  I was baptized and completed my First Communion but never continued in the faith.  I was away from the Church for many many years.  For a long time I felt the need for the Church but I always put it on the back burner, making excuses…I was tired, I will go next week, I have to work…the excuses went on and on.

Over the years I have attended other churches and enjoyed them but they never felt like “home”.  It wasn’t until I joined the R.C.I.A. Program here at St. Joseph that I finally felt it was the right place and time for me to come back to the Catholic faith.

-Tracy Shamhart

Current R.C.I.A. Team Member & Former Program Candidate

Welcome to the journey.  R.C.I.A. will be a very fulfilling and enlightening experience for you and everyone involved.  I have been a team member since becoming Catholic and have found that everyone has a different reason or set of conditions for becoming Catholic.  It is an individual experience where you will be assisted along your journey by a diverse group that consists of your parish family.  Some of us have been raised Catholic and some of us have chosen to become Catholic.

My journey has been very fulfilling and a great deal of the motivation behind my continued involvement with the R.C.I.A. program.  Every year has been a tremendous learning experience.  In October 2000 our U.S. bishops published a report about R.C.I.A. entitled “Journey to the Fullness of Life.”  In the report they stated that R.C.I.A. is “renewing the life of the Church in the United States.”  What this means is that you are our future and not simply because you will be one more Catholic.  Your journey will enrich you and everyone involved.  Your sponsor, your team and the entire parish will be praying for you and growing spiritually with you.  It truly is a win-win situation where you will be learning about Christianity and the Catholic Church.

R.C.I.A. isn’t just for non-Catholics.  The journey is also for those who want to become full members of the Church.  Many candidates are already members, but have not finished their sacraments.  They come back and refresh themselves and continue along the path.  Both Catholics and non-Catholics are appreciated and rewarded by joining the journey.

Again, I and the team welcome you to the journey.


Brian Sarvas

R.C.I.A. Team Leader


In 2011 I made a decision that would prove to be life changing and one of the best that I have ever made.   I’d like to share with you why I decided to go through R.C.I.A. .

From a young age, I have always attended church with my family and religion has always been present but I was never completely fulfilled. After high school I began to stray away from attending church, although I believed in God, it was not a priority in College.  There was always a reason not to attend church, and I would tell myself things like “I really need to get that paper finished” or “I am just so tired, God will understand that I needed the extra sleep.”  I still went to church, but mostly on Christmas and Easter.  I attended and tried out countless churches, but none felt like home. I graduated from BGSU, and found my first teaching job, and continued to “test drive”, a handful of churches.  In 2004 I met Steve, who would become my husband four years later. While we were dating I would attend church with him, here at St. Joseph, but something was still missing.  It bothered me that I was not able to fully participate in the mass and sacraments.  I felt like there was a blinking neon light above my head that was flashing “Non-Catholic” when I was unable to partake in the Eucharist.

R.C.I.A. has helped me find what has been missing, renewing my faith and allowing me to grow more spiritually in the past year than I ever imagined possible, and I was fully initiated into the Catholic Church at the Easter vigil in 2012.  The friendships that I have gained have not only made me feel at home here, but it has given me a renewed spark in my faith. I have been inspired by the friendship, and enthusiasm of others in the program, both cradle Catholics and the newly converted.  I would strongly suggest that if you are considering the R.C.IA program, to come and see what it is all about.  It just may change your life in ways you could not imagine.

-Stacey Gatten

Current R.C.I.A. Team Member & Former Program Candidate