RCIA - RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS
This page explains the process by which one can - through our parish’s Adult Faith Formation Ministry - learn more about the Catholic faith. We hope you will find this information helpful!
FOUR STAGES OF
THE RITE OF
The process by which adults come into the Church has come to be known as “RCIA”, which is short for “The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.”
The RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) is a process, not a program. It forms a community of inquirers, sponsors and guides moving through the education, formation and ritualization of entrance into the Catholic community, whereby those interested in learning about the Catholic faith come together on a weekly basis to learn about the scriptures and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, and at the same time, to discover where God is present in their lives.
The process is designed for those adults who are:
∙ The unbaptized. The primary focus of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is on those who are not already Christian and have not been catechized.
∙ Baptized but uncatechized. Those who have been baptized either as Roman Catholics or as members of another Christian community but did not receive further catechetical formation or instruction. These typically have also not celebrated confirmation nor Eucharist.
∙ Those seeking full Catholic Communion. These are baptized, practicing Christians from other denominations who seek entry into the Catholic Church.
FIRST STAGE: “Inquiry” (also known as the Period of Evangelization). Baptized or unbaptized persons who have had very little formal Christian training and would like to learn more about the Catholic way of life. The primary focus of this phase is growing in faith and personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
SECOND STAGE: “Catechumenate” (ancient word meaning ‘to echo God’s word’). When inquirers are ready, they move into the next phase known as the catechumenate. People preparing for Baptism during this period are now called catechumens; those already baptized are called candidates. The primary focus of this phase is receiving instruction and formation in the Liturgy, the liturgical year, God’s Word, Catholic doctrine, service, outreach, and incorporation into the life of our parish community and the wider Church. Conversion is a gradual process; time is given for faith to take deep root in those wanting to become Catholic.
Catechumens gather at Sunday Masses and are dismissed after the homily to “break open” and reflect on the Word of God that was proclaimed at Mass. Catechists join the catechumens for reflection. All this is done in a relaxed, adult faith-sharing atmosphere that invites a deeper relationship with God.
THIRD STAGE: “Purification and Enlightenment”. Catechumens are now called the “elect.” This is the final preparation before the reception of the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil. It is a time of prayer, penitential rituals, discernment, and spiritual preparation for the sacraments they will receive.
FOURTH STAGE: “Mystagogia” (ancient word meaning ‘exploring the mysteries’). The newly baptized Catholics continue gathering after Easter to reflect on their experience of the sacraments and to actively incorporate the Paschal mystery into daily life through inter-connectivity to each other and to the Church.