What is the RCIA?
The RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults), is a process of initiation into the Catholic Community of Faith for people who are experiencing a conversion in their lives and seeking either Christian baptism in the Catholic Church or full Communion with the Catholic tradition of Eucharist and Confirmation.
It is a process which enables the study of the Gospels, Catholic Christian teaching, the acceptance of Christian values and morality, the development and deepening of a life of prayer and action with the support and involvement of the local Christian community. The RCIA is more than a course of instruction. It is a process of conversion, designed to meet the unique and individual needs of the participants.
Who is RCIA for?
Non-Catholics who want to find out more about the Catholic Faith
Those who want to join the Catholic Church through Baptism, or Profession of Faith
Those who were baptized Catholic as infants but never received religious education, Confirmation, or First Eucharist.
Why an RCIA process?
This process involves attendance at weekly meetings where the prospective candidates explore elements of the Catholic faith in a small group setting with catechists drawn from local parishioners. This starts in September each year and finishes in June the following year. The development of faith does take time and it cannot be rushed. If any candidates feels though they are not ready after this period, they must be allowed sufficient time for their faith to ripen.
Five Stages of the RCIA Process
1. Inquiry or Pre-Catechumenate — At this time participants are encouraged to ask questions and explore the basic tenets of the Catholic faith and to reflect upon these in light of their own life experiences
2. The Catechumenate — It is during this time that most of study of Scripture, doctrine, traditions and meeting with the community takes place.
3. Purification and Enlightenment — For those preparing for baptism, this stage takes place during the Lenten season where they reflect upon their own faith experiences in a more intense, prayerful way.
4. Sacraments of Initiation — Candidates for baptism celebrate their initiation into the Church on the holiest of nights – the Easter Vigil – where they are baptized, confirmed and receive Holy Eucharist.
5. Mystagogia — This is a time for candidates to reflect upon their experiences of being new Catholic Christians and to find their place in the ordinary life of the Church.
Some Common Questions
Must I make a commitment to Catholicism to participate in this programme? –
No. We realize that many people are searching and need to know more about the Church before they make such a commitment. We ask no firm commitment until the beginning of Lent.
I was baptized a Methodist, Baptist, etc. Must I be re-baptized in order to join the Catholic Church?
No. There is only one Baptism. Candidates seeking full Communion within the Catholic Church will not be baptized again. They will simply make a Profession of Faith and receive the Sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation.
What steps do I need to take to begin the process of inquiry?