Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)

rcia

The RCIA is the special Rite of Initiation used by the Catholic Church in which participants progress through a series of stages designed to foster their inquiry, spiritual growth, and conversion. The RCIA is designed to foster not only a deeper understanding of Catholic faith and tradition but also a deeper more profound relationship with God. It is a gradual process that takes place within the context of the community of the faithful as well as weekly sessions held throughout the year.

The RCIA is designed to assist youth and adults who:

  • have never been baptized, and wish to be baptized in the Catholic Church;
  • have been baptized in another Christian tradition (Lutheran, Episcopalian, etc.) and wish to become Catholic;
  • were baptized Catholic, but have not received First Eucharist and/or Confirmation

Initiation of the unbaptized and baptized Christians takes place at Resurrection of Our Lord during the Easter Vigil. Initiation of baptized Catholics generally takes place on the feast of Penticost (i.e., May or June) at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter & Paul.

The RCIA is composed of four stages:

THE PRE-CATECHUMENATE (or period of Inquiry)

This period is often compared to the dating period of a relationship; it is a time for getting to know one another better. It is a time for inquirers to ask questions and listen, and a time for faith sharing. It is a time to share our thoughts, experiences, and impressions of God and the Church. Those having gone through this stage and desiring to proceed toward reception into the Church will take part in the Rite of Acceptance which marks the beginning of the next period.

THE CATECHUMENATE

Inquirers are now referred to as catechumens (those moving toward Baptism) and candidates (those already Baptized but coming into full communion with the Church). They are now joined by sponsors, who will assist them as their companions and guides through the process. This period of the RCIA will last approximately one year, and it is during this period that religious instruction and faith formation take place. This involves reflection on the Sunday readings and formation in Catholic faith and tradition. On the first Sunday of Lent, the catechumens and candidates who are ready to move towards full initiation participate in the Rite of Election. This marks the beginning of the third period – Purification and Enlightenment.

PURIFICATION & ENLIGHTENMENT

This is a prayerful, penitential retreat phase of preparation, which lasts for the six weeks of Lent leading up to the Easter Vigil. Catechumens are baptized and confirmed and candidates are received into full communion at the Easter Vigil. The community offers its final gesture of welcome and shares in the Eucharist at the table of the Lord with those who have been preparing for this moment.

MYSTAGOGY

The fourth and final period comes from the Greek word meaning mystery. During this time, we reflect on our experience of the sacraments just received and on their meaning in our lives. It is also a time to learn about the parish and to discern how our participation as new members of this parish will take shape. It offers a time to examine what it is to live the Christian life. The stage formally ends at the feast of Pentecost, with occasional monthly “check-ups” leading up to the one-year anniversary of the newly received. In reality Mystagogy continues for the rest of a Christian’s life. Conversion is a life long process for we are continually trying to renew ourselves, and deepen our relationship with Christ.

Our RCIA runs year-round and has open enrollment. There’s no time like the present to begin your inquiry in the faith. Participants meet weekly throughout the year on Wednesday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00 PM in the parish convent building with the exception of various holidays, etc. Each session involves time for prayer, reflection and discussion on the Sunday readings, and topical presentations designed to not only instruct participants in Catholic faith and tradition, but more importantly to deepen their relationship with God.