What Is RCIA?

All Are Welcome!

 

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops describes the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) 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 Catholic Church formation programs. Catechumens are adults and older children who desire full reception into the Church through all of the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, the Eucharist, and Confirmation. Candidates are adults and older children who have been baptized in a Christian tradition and seek full reception through the Eucharist and Confirmation.

RCIA Is a Journey

 

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is a process that proceeds over weeks and months. It has several steps:

Pre-Catechumenate

This is the earliest phase in the process, 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 and formation in 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. Participants also take part in worship services and various Church rituals.

Rite of Election

Catechumens and Candidates are chosen to be received by the bishop and the community and to receive 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 community of believers through receiving the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, the Eucharist, and Confirmation.

Mystagogy

This is a time of reflection and celebration after the formal reception into the Catholic Church. Mystagogia means “leading into the mystery.” 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 help guide, support, and instruct those who are contemplating becoming members of our Catholic community. Team members share their faith with adults who desire more information about the Catholic Church, many of whom seek to celebrate one or more of the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, the Eucharist, and Confirmation.

 

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 is a return to the formation of the earliest members of the Church in the first and second centuries.
 

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