The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults or the RCIA as it is commonly known, is the formal
process for people to be received into the Church. Although it usually takes the better part of a
year, there are no time limits or a set amount of time in which you will complete the process. It
is largely dependent on your readiness. Your personal circumstances also play a part in how
long the process takes. People with a strong background in another Christian faith tradition and
in Scripture may take less time than others. If you have a prior marriage to be annulled it may
take a bit longer.
This process is for both people who have not been baptized, as well as people who were
baptized in another Christian faith. The Catholic Church recognizes baptism from most other
Christian denominations. If you have already been baptized, you may be received into full
communion with the Catholic Church through the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.
Generally, adults coming into the church through Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist will do
so during the season of Easter. Adults celebrating baptism do so at the Easter Vigil.
The RCIA is not a program. It is the church’s way of ministering to those who seek membership.
It is a process of coming to know Jesus. It is a call to choose a relationship with Jesus through
the Catholic Church, especially through the celebration of the Eucharist. The RCIA is an
opportunity to join in the sacramental life of the church. It is a choice to bear witness to the
gospel by living a life of faith and service.
The RCIA has four stages. The beginning stage is called a time of Inquiry or the
Pre-Catechumenate. During this period the RCIA team seeks to assist the inquirer with answers
to their questions about God, faith and the church. The second stage is the Catechumenate , or
the period of learning. During this period, the church encourages an ongoing conversion to
Jesus Christ and the reign of God he proclaimed. The Catechumenate provides a structure for
the studying scripture, especially the gospels, catechesis (passing on the teachings of the
church), public and private prayer, direct contact with the members of the parish community
and participation in the work of the church for justice and peace.
The third stage is called the Period of Purification and Enlightenment and generally takes place
during Lent. It is a period of intense prayer and reflection prior to celebrating the Easter
Sacraments. Mystagogia, the fourth period is one of “unpacking” and integration of the
experience of celebrating the Sacraments. These periods of the process are all preceded by
formal Rites that take place during a Sunday Mass. These Rites are your public affirmation to
the community, as well as yourself, that you are ready to move on in your journey towards the
Easter Vigil, your initiation into the Catholic Christian community.
Contact person: Debbie Krisher, Pastoral Associate (315)638-0585