Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is a process that the Church restored in 1975 after Vatican II.  It did so out of a desire to provide a more thorough and personal preparation to adults seeking to enter the Catholic Church through the sacraments of initiation. The bishops modeled this rite after the baptismal Catechumenate which the Church relied upon during its first four centuries. RCIA was originally provided to assist unbaptized persons to prepare for baptism, confirmation and Eucharist. Those preparing for baptism are known as Catechumens. In recent years RCIA has been adapted to include candidates seeking full communion in the Catholic church including:

  1. Baptized Catholics who never received their First Communion, and
  2. Christians who were baptized in other communities of faith.

These candidates participate in this process to prepare for confirmation and Eucharist, but usually for a shorter time especially if they have already had some catechetical formation in another Christian community.

The RCIA is for adults as well as those children who have reached the use of reason. Respecting the fact that every person has different life experience and needs, we recommend seeking out a staff member to have your questions answered, or participate in inquiry sessions when they are offered. Usually adult Catechumens (those previously unbaptized) require a year or more of preparation. Older children usually participate at least six months in RCIA and also participate in the parish faith formation program, Generations of Faith.

The RCIA usually entails a four-step process.

  • The precatechumenate is a time for hospitality, inquiry and becoming acquainted with the faith community. There is no commitment asked for or expected at this time.
  • The primary purpose of the second phase, the catechumenate, is catechesis and faith sharing. These two stages can continue for an undetermined length of time, from a few months to a couple of years.
  • The period of enlightenment, which takes place during Lent, is a time for prayer, reflection and the immediate preparation for the sacraments of initiation which are usually celebrated at the Easter Vigil. At that time, the person is fully initiated into the Catholic Church by receiving Baptism, Confirmation and First Eucharist.
  • The period from Easter Sunday to Pentecost, called mystagogy, completes initiation. This festive season helps new members and the whole Church to more deeply penetrate into the meaning of the Easter sacraments.

Please contact a pastoral associate or the pastor for more information or if you think you would like to participate.

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