Members of the Northern Lakes Catholic Communities’ RCIA committee include (from left) associate pastor Fr. Rich Rinehart, Mark Gostisha, Louise Springer, Rollie Alger, Bob Lang, Dale Maternoski and pastor Fr. Ron Serrao. (Submitted photo)

Northern Lakes Catholic Communities, the five-parish cluster representing churches in Eagle River, Land O’ Lakes, Phelps, Sugar Camp and Three Lakes, has launched a new Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults committee.

Pastor Fr. Ron Serrao was looking for volunteers to take over the endeavor, as the previous leader changed employment and had to move from the area. This new committee is currently comprised of five members who will lead the new Becoming Fully Catholic program, anchored by two parish priests.

Fr. Serrao said, “The 2,000-year Christian tradition of our Catholic Church lives on in the efforts of this new group to help individuals start or rekindle their personal relationships with Christ.”

Fr. Rich Rhinehart, associate pastor for the cluster, added “Before I was ordained a priest, the Catholic Herald interviewed me, asking what some of the challenges would be in the Diocese of Superior. I said, ‘Catechesis, and getting back to the basics of our faith, as so many people don’t understand what or why we as Catholics do what we do, believe what we believe.’ Becoming Fully Catholic is all about catechesis, about sharing our faith and teaching our beliefs to others so we can collectively spread the good news to the world and each other. This new committee is diverse, using multiple parishioners from different parishes, and will allow us to share our own individual faith journeys and life experiences from different perspectives.

“By changing the way we approach Becoming Fully Catholic, we will have more flexibility in scheduling classes and ensure we forge relationships individually with candidates and catechumens, meeting them where they are at,” Fr. Rhinehart added.

The RCIA leaders include Louise Springer (St. Peter the Fisherman, Eagle River), Bob Lang and Dale Maternoski (St. Theresa of Avila, Three Lakes), Rollie Alger (St. Mary, Phelps) and Mark Gostisha (St. Albert the Great, Land O’ Lakes); a candidate from St. Kunegunda Parish in Sugar Camp will hopefully be named soon.

Becoming Fully Catholic is a discernment and educational process for adults interested in the Catholic faith. Enrolled candidates and catechumens will receive Scripture-based training in the sacraments, utilizing RCIA materials, the Bible, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Participants will learn about Catholic traditions, feast days and the liturgical calendar, among many other aspects of the faith. The training will commence in late September and culminate on April 16, Holy Saturday of Easter weekend.

Through the process, candidates and catechumens can receive the sacraments of baptism, reconciliation, confirmation, and the holy Eucharist, depending on the individual’s past faith experiences.

In these early stages of program development, the team has encountered many fallen-away Catholics with interest in reigniting their personal faith journey and relationship with Christ. They are excited to accommodate these parishioners; a schedule including topics will be posted using various media avenues.

Anyone interested in joining the program can contact Fr. Serrao at 715-904-0501; Fr. Rhinehart at 715-204-9446; or a committee member at .