WHAT IS RCIA AND WHO IS IT FOR?
R.C.I.A. is the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. It is a gradual process of initiation in the Catholic Faith through prayer, study, discussion, and ritual for:
Unbaptized adults who wish to explore the Catholic Faith and to possibly prepare for the initiation sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.
Adults who have been baptized in another Christian community who want to learn more about the Catholic religion and be received into the Faith.
Baptized Catholics who have not received the sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation and who desire to enter fully into the community of the Catholic Church, perhaps as preparation for Marriage in the Church.
WHAT DOES THE PROCESS INVOLVE?
There are four stages or periods with rites or ceremonies as gateways between them, celebrated within a Sunday Mass or at a formal diocesan celebration. These rites mark and empower the spiritual growth of the Catechumens (unbaptized) and Candidates (baptized) as they prepare for full membership in the Church.
THE 4 STAGES AND 3 GATEWAYS OF THE RCIA
PERIOD OF THE PRECATECHUMENATE OR INQUIRY
This is a stage of informal meetings, a time of evangelization-sharing the Gospel, answering questions, and introduction to basic Catholic life, prayers, and teachings. Inquirers strive to open their hearts to the Gospel and the workings of the Holy Spirit and begin the conversion process, as the Church helps them discern whether God is calling them into the Catholic Church.
Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens / Rite of Welcoming
PERIOD OF THE CATECHUMENATE
After being placed in formal relationship with the Church through the Rite of Acceptance and Welcoming, the Catechumens (unbaptized) and Candidates (baptized) enter a period of receiving gradual and systematic instruction in the teachings of the Catholic Faith based on the Catechism, as well as a time of formation in prayer and works of charity. They also receive special blessings and prayers and participate on Sundays in the Breaking Open the Word-a shared discussion on the meaning of the Scriptures for their lives.
Rite of Election / Call to Continuing Conversion
PERIOD OF PURIFICATION AND ENLIGHTENMENT
Through the Rite of Election, the Catechumens and Candidates enter into this period which corresponds with the season of Lent. This is an intense time of prayer, discernment, and spiritual preparation for the Easter sacraments. Catechumens and Candidates continue to Break Open the Word on Sundays and to receive special blessings, help in scrutinizing their hearts, and the Presentations of the Creed and Lord’s Prayer.
Sacraments of Initiation - Easter Vigil