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The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults is a formation process designed for adults who are considering joining the Catholic Church. Through a program consisting of presentations, discussions, study, prayer and participation in the life of the parish, individuals learn the beliefs, teachings and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church and prepare to celebrate the sacraments of Initiation, Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.
Steps in the RCIA process:
Inquiry (also known as the pre-Catechumenate) is the first step in the process. It is exactly what the name suggests-a time to ask questions about Catholic faith and practice. Inquiry meetings are shaped by the questions and experiences of those who are participating. The transition from the period of Inquiry into more formal preparation for the sacraments of initiation is celebrated through the Rite of Acceptance (non-baptized persons) or the Rite of Welcome (for those baptized in another Christian tradition).
Catechumenate is a more formal preparation for the sacraments. This is a time for the community to systematically and thoroughly present the Catholic faith to the catechumens (unbaptized person) and candidates (baptized person). It allows ample opportunity for the catechumen or candidate to be formed in God’s Word (Sacred Scripture), Worship (primarily the Mass), Community (being with and doing as Catholics do) and Outreach. The transition from this stage is celebrated with the diocesan Bishop in the Rite of Election (unbaptized) or Call to Continuing Conversion (baptized).
Purification and Enlightenment occurs during the season of Lent. is a special time for those preparing for baptism. Those preparing for baptism who have celebrated the Rite of Election are known as the “Elect” and their preparation is more intense. The parish prays for them in a special way on the 3rd, 4th and 5th Sundays of Lent. The Elect are baptized at the Easter Vigil. Though becoming Catholic is often associated with Easter, previously baptized candidates may make a profession of faith and be received into the Catholic Church at almost any time of the year.
The newly initiated aren’t “done” after celebrating the sacraments, but enter into a time called Mystagogy. They continue to learn and understand their faith, but from a different perspective because they have studied as well as experienced the sacramental life of the church.
Sponsors and RCIA team members are very important to the initiation process. RCIA team members support the overall process by serving as greeters, ministers of hospitality, table discussion leaders and topic presenters. Sponsors support a particular catechumen (person preparing for Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) or candidate (baptized person seeking to enter into full communion of the Catholic Church). Ideally a sponsor attends RCIA meetings with the catechumen or candidate, prays with and for them and acquaints them with parish life. They assist their catechumen or candidate in discerning when to celebrate the various rites that mark the RCIA faith journey. To volunteer to be a sponsor or RCIA team member, please call the Parish Life Center.
Inquiry – Monday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Parish Life Center Room 52
Formation – Monday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Parish Life Center Room 51/53
For the current RCIA schedule, click here
Introductory Brochure click here
For information about the R.C.I.A. process, please contact Nancy Goldfarb in the Parish Life Center, firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-585-1257 ext. 102.