Becoming Catholic

RCIA - The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults
 


(St Peter's Basilica, Vactican City)

Becoming Catholic today means joining an ancient faith, deeply rooted in the teachings and traditions of Christ, that is filled with hope and vibrancy as we continue to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to all the ends of the earth.

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 people who are seeking full initiation 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 to be fully initiated 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 Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. 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 that proceeds over weeks and months. It has several steps:

Pre-Catechumenate or "Inquiry"

This is the earliest phase in the process; it is also know as the Period of Inquiry. This is the time that is spent looking into whether or not you want to give your life to Christ and live this out in the context of the Church he left on earth, the Catholic Church. This is a time of discernment for you and when you are ready to accept the cross of Christ and follow him, you proceed to the Rite of Initiation and become a Catechumenate if you are not Baptized or a Candidate if you are already baptized in another Christian faith. 

Rite of Acceptance and Welcoming

The first Rite in the RCIA process, the Rite of Initiation accepts new members into the worshiping community. Often done at Mass, you publically accept the Gospel of Christ and profess your desire to live according to Christ's teachings and the parish community accepts you into their community. It is at this point that you can expect help and support from Mother Church. Liturgically, this means you have a right to all the blessings, exorcisms, anointings, and other minor rites celebrated within the Catholic Church. 

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 participate in worship services and various Church rituals.

As part of the Catechumenate, you will not be able to celebrate in the Mass fully until the Easter Vigil, and so you and some of your teachers will be dismissed after the Liturgy of the Word which ends after the Homily. You will take time to reflect on the scriptures of that day and begin to learn to hear God's voice in your life even more strongly. 

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, 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” and 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 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, many of whom seek to celebrate one or more of the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation.

 

Contact: 

If you have questions and would like to speak with someone about joining the Catholic faith, contact our director, Leah Hinman. She would be happy to talk further with you and answer any questions or concerns that you have!

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