What is RCIA?

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops describes the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults as a process in which participants "undergo…conversion as they study the Gospel, profess faith in Jesus and the Catholic Church, and receive the sacraments…The RCIA process follows the ancient practice of the Church and was restored by the Second Vatican Council as the normal way adults prepare for baptism."

Likewise, the language used in the RCIA process is that of the early Church formation programs. Catechumens are those seeking full instatement into the Catholic Church through all of the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation. Candidates are people who have been baptized in a Christian tradition but are seeking initiation into the Catholic Church through Eucharist and Confirmation.

All are Welcome!

RCIA is a process of study, exploration, faith-sharing, and faith formation, with specific liturgical rites for seekers and inquirers. Seekers and inquirers are non-baptized adults who desire full initiation into the Roman Catholic Church and/or baptized adult Christians who desire full communion in the Roman Catholic Church.

Adults or older children who have not been baptized and desire to join the Church are invited into the ancient celebration of the RCIA. During this process, which is marked by regular ritual acts, participants are introduced to the liturgy, the teachings, and the life of the Catholic Church.  Adults or older children who were baptized in another Christian denomination prepare in a similar way for the sacraments of Confirmation and the Eucharist during their reception into the Catholic Church.

RCIA is a Journey

The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults is a process spread out over weeks and months. It has several steps:

Pre-Catechumenate

This is the earliest phase in the process, and it is also known as the Period of Inquiry. Catechumens and Candidates acknowledge that Christ is calling them into the Church through the movement of the Holy Spirit. This is a time for seeking and reflection.

Rite of Initiation

The first Rite in the RCIA process, the Rite of Initiation, accepts new members into the worshipping community.

Catechumenate

The longest part of the process, the Catechumenate is a time of learning the traditions and doctrine of the Catholic Church. This is a time for sharing stories, reading scripture, and studying the Church customs, traditions, and doctrine in order to build the foundation of faith. Members also participate in worship services and various Church rituals.

Rite of Election

Catechumens and Candidates are received by the bishop and the community and are given the Sacraments of Initiation at Easter.

Sacraments of Initiation

At the Easter Vigil (Holy Saturday), all newly elected members of the community who have been journeying through the RCIA process are welcomed formally into the Church through receiving the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation.

Mystagogy

Mystagogia means “leading into the mystery.”  This is a time of reflection and celebration after the formal reception into the Catholic Church.  It is a time to explore the deep mystery of our faith and go forth to help build the reign of God on Earth as new members of the faithful.

RCIA Team

People journeying through the RCIA process need sponsors and community support to help them grow in faith. The RCIA team of sponsors helps guide, support, and instruct those discerning whether to become members of our Catholic community. Team members share their faith with inquiring adults who are seeking more information about the Catholic Church and wish to celebrate one or more of the Sacraments of Initiation.

 

The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, or RCIA, is a communal process for formal initiation of new members into the Catholic Church. This process echoes the formation of the earliest members of the Church in the first and second centuries.
 

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