The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) is a casual and conversational environment where people who are exploring Catholic Christianity get to know more about the basic message of Christ and the mission of his Church. This is an accessible and welcoming way to take a look at the bigger picture about God, Jesus, the Bible, the Christian story, and the Catholic Church.
- RCIA is the usual way in which adults who are not Catholic can find out about and/or possibly enter the Catholic Church.
- Goal of RCIA: Full communion, which means “full, conscious, and active participation" in the Eucharist and in the whole life of the Catholic Faith Community. Ultimately, we want you to know God, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, so that you may be happy with Him for ever in heaven.
- RCIA helps adults:
- To grow in their relationship with God
- To become more familiar with Catholic teachings and practices
- To get acquainted with people in the parish
- To get involved in service within the parish and/or the wider community
The RCIA Process
1. Period of Inquiry
- The inquiry period is a time to seek, to ask questions, to begin to learn about the Catholic Church. There are no commitments made or asked of during this time. Inquirers are encouraged to attend Mass and to begin to feel comfortable with the Catholic community
2. Rite of Acceptance & Period of the Catechumenate
- This part of the journey begins with a liturgical rite called the Rite of Acceptance, where the candidates (already baptized) and the catechumens (unbaptized) are introduced to, welcomed and blessed by the faith community. This is a period of learning, a study of the Church’s doctrine and practices. This is also the period in which the candidates and catechumens are ask to attend the same Mass each Sunday. After the homily, they are dismissed to further pray and share that Sunday’s scripture readings. The Catechumenate process usually goes on up until the beginning of Lent.
3. Rite of Election & Period of Enlightenment
- The period of the catechumenate ends when the catechumen or candidate discerns, with the help of their sponsor and the parish RCIA team, that God is calling them to receive the Sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil. The Rite of Election marks the end of the formal study of the Church’s teachings. The catechumens and candidates are now called the elect. The weeks of Lent are a time of intense prayer as the elect prepare themselves to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord at Easter and to receive the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and first Eucharist).
- On the Sundays of Lent, the elect are prayed for in a special way to help them prepare more fully for the sacraments. The sponsors continue to accompany the elect in Church and support them in their Lenten preparation.
4. Initiation & Mystagogia
- On Holy Saturday, the parish assembles for the Easter Vigil. The Easter Vigil is the primary celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection and is, therefore, the most appropriate occasion for the elect to celebrate their Baptism or Profession of Faith, Confirmation and first Eucharist.
- For the newly initiated, now called neophytes, the time immediately following Easter is a special opportunity to reflect on the commitment which they have made to the Lord, to the Church, and to the local parish community. This time of unfolding the meaning of the initiation sacraments is called Mystagogia. The Sunday Scripture readings, which explain the meaning of the Resurrection and of Baptism, have special meaning for these new Catholics.
- The weeks after Easter are a time for a new Catholic to seek out their place in the parish community. One’s journey of faith lasts a lifetime.