What is RCIA?
Most adults who are interested in joining the Catholic Church follow a process of instruction and formation called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. It is a gradual formation process of initiating new members into the Catholic Church by prayer, study, discussion and ritual. It culminates with the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) at the Easter Vigil. Besides instruction in the Faith, the RCIA aims at changing the heart and transforming the spirit of those undergoing the process, as well as the whole parish community to become more authentic disciples of Jesus Christ.
Is RCIA right for me?
RCIA is for any adult wishing to become a member of the Roman Catholic Church through Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. If you are not already baptized, then you will enter RCIA as a Catechumen. If you are already baptized (most Christian baptisms are accepted), then you will be known as a Candidate.
Adult Catholics who did not receive the Sacraments of Holy Communion or Confirmation as children also participate in RCIA to deepen their own faith and prayer life to complete their initiation as full and active members of the Catholic community.
Catholics who are already fully initiated and seeking to deepen their faith and prayer life, would benefit from participating in the various retreats and ministries offered by the Parish throughout the year.
How long does RCIA take?
The process of initiation depends upon the need of the individual. Most spend 8 months in preparation before receiving the Sacraments of Initiation. Regardless of the amount of time taken to prepare, initiation into the Church is usually celebrated at the Easter Vigil each year.
Who is involved in RCIA?
The entire Christian community is responsible for the initiation of new members. By observing our prayer, words and actions in the Parish and the wider community, our newest members learn what it means to live as a Catholic today. Every parishioner is an example and model of Christian discipleship.
From within the Parish community, there are others who have more particular responsibilities within RCIA. They are:
The RCIA Team
This team is composed of the RCIA Director, the parish priest and catechists. They oversee all aspects of the RCIA process.
RCIA is a journey that brings together a candidate with a person from the Parish to serve as a guide, a companion and a model of faith. This person is called the sponsor. Sponsors are a vital link between the candidate and the Parish and serve as a personal connection to the Church for the candidate.
A Step by Step Look at RCIA
New life in Christ is a gradual journey of many steps and stages. The four steps of the RCIA are pre-catechumenate, catechumenate, Lenten purification and mystagogy. Along the way, there are key rites of acceptance, election and initiation. The four steps, in more detail, are:
1. The pre-catechumenate is a period of inquiry. The celebration of the Rite of Acceptance marks the end of this period. In this rite, which usually occurs in Advent, the candidates express, and the Church accepts, their intention to follow the way of Christ.
2. The catechumenate is a period of instruction for the nurturing and growth of the catechumen’s faith. The celebration of the Rite of Election, usually on the First Sunday of Lent, marks the end of this period. In this rite, the Church gives voice to God’s election of the catechumens to receive the Sacraments of Initiation.
3. The period of purification and enlightenment is a time of spiritual preparation, centered on conversion and reflection, coinciding with Lent. This period is marked by the celebration of the scrutinies and presentations and ends with the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil.
4. The period of mystagogy provides ongoing support and reflection following the celebration of Initiation. The newly initiated experience full participation in the Christian community.
Where Do I Go from Here?
If you feel God calling you to follow him as a member of the Catholic Church, we encourage you to pray about this call and when you feel comfortable to contact the Parish Office to explore this call more deeply within a supportive and understanding community.
Lord, eternal source of light, justice and truth, take me under your tender care. Give me a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of right judgment and courage, a spirit of knowledge and reverence, so that, as I continue to seek you in my life, I may be filled more and more with wonder and awe in your presence. Amen.
Our RCIA group meets each week for about one hour, in a relaxed, informative atmosphere for those seeking to deepen their relationship with God. Please join us!