The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the process for those adults thinking about becoming a Catholic Christian.
The main resource for the sessions is the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults.
Who may attend RCIA?
- Persons who have never been baptized as Christians.
- Persons who have been baptized in another Christian faith tradition and are now interested in the Catholic tradition.
- Persons who were baptized in the Catholic tradition but not raised as Catholics.
- Catholics who would like to rejuvenate their faith.
How long does it take to become a Catholic?
The RCIA is not a program. It is a process of preparation for the lifetime commitment that comes with reception into the Church. Consequently, some people will need more time than others to prepare for this. The usual length of preparation is from six months to two years. The baptism of adults typically takes place at the Easter Vigil each year.
If I begin, am I obligated to become Catholic?
There is no obligation to make any kind of commitment nor is there pressure exerted on anyone to become Catholic. We respect the conscience and decision of every inquirer. Because of your association with us we would hope that you would gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of Catholic beliefs and practices.
Phases of RCIA:
Evangelization and Precatechumenate – a period lasting from a few weeks to many months.
- Inquirers are invited to ask questions, share their stories, reflect on the Scriptures. They are not asked to make a commitment at this time.
- Church members share the gospel message of salvation with inquirers.
- At the conclusion of this period, there is a celebration of The Rite of Becoming a Catechumen. This is an occasion for great joy, as the inquirer formally requests membership in the Church and becomes a catechumen. The faith community pledges them support on their journey.
Catechumenate – a period devoted to formal preparation. During this time, catechumens:
- Grow in faith by developing an understanding of Church teachings, and by praying alone and with the faith community.
- Interact with members of the Catholic Christian community, learning from example.
- Participate in liturgical rites – especially the Liturgy of the Word – by listening to scripture and the explanations, and discussing what they have heard.
- Learn about Christian service and about sharing the Christian faith.
- This period concludes with the Rite of Election, the first week of Lent.
Purification and Enlightenment – a period (lasting through Lent) for reflecting on religious experience and faith. It includes:
- Scrutinies – Readings, prayers, etc. on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sundays of Lent.
- Presentations – Candidates receive the Apostles Creed and the Our Father
- Preparation – a mini retreat and a day of prayer (Holy Saturday)
- The Easter Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist
Mystagogia – Post-baptismal catechesis
- Developing a deeper understanding of Jesus’ death and resurrection by sharing in the sacraments
- Reading scripture
- Christian service