The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is the process whereby adults are initiated into full communion with the Catholic Church. The R.C.I.A. is for:
-those who were baptized in other faith traditions but now feel called to become Catholic.
-those who have never been baptized or do not belong to a faith tradition but now feel called to become Catholic.
-those who were baptized Catholic but never received Confirmation and First Holy Communion.
-those who have received both Catholic baptism and First Holy Communion but were never Confirmed.
The RCIA process is inclusive of the following four periods and three steps within these periods:
1. Period of Inquiry: Pre-Catechumenate This is a time for inquiry and introduction of the Gospel values, an opportunity for the beginnings of faith.
Step 1: Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens This is the liturgical rite marking the beginning of the catechumenate proper, as the candidates express and the Church accepts their intention to respond to God’s call and to follow the way of Christ.
2. Period of the Catechumenate This is the time for the nurturing and growth of the catechumen’s faith and conversion to God.
Step 2: Election or Enrollment of Names This is the liturgical rite, usually celebrated on the First Sunday of Lent, by which the Church formally ratifies the catechumen’s readiness for the sacraments of initiation and the catechumens, now the elect, express the will to receive these sacraments.
3. Period of Purification and Enlightenment This is the time immediately preceding the elect’s initiation. It is a time of reflection (includes a “Spiritual Retreat”), intensely centered on conversion, marked by celebration of the scrutinies and of the preparation rites on Holy Saturday.
Step 3: Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation This is the liturgical rite, usually integrated into the Easter Vigil, by which the elect are initiated through Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist.
4. Period of Mystagogy This is the time, following the celebration of initiation, during which the newly initiated experience being fully a part of the Christian community by means of pertinent catechesis and particularly by participation with all the faithful in the Sunday Eucharist celebration.
Structure of RCIA Classes
A ninety-minute class is held each week in which a key topic/area of teaching of the Church is shared. These topics include the Bible, the Sacraments, Prayer, Mass, Mary, and much more.
During the Period of the Pre-Catechumenate, the entire ninety minutes is used to address the key topic. Beginning with the Period of the Catechumenate, the first thirty minutes of each class are focused on “Breaking Open the Word”, during which we discuss the Sunday Scripture readings. This is intended to further build-up faith and understanding of God’s word.
The second part of each class (sixty minutes) is more educational, with a focus on increasing understanding of key areas of our Catholic faith. The content of these classes are based on Scripture, the teachings of the Catechism, and the Traditions of the Catholic Church.
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is a communal process of spiritual and educational formation for adults who seek to become full members of the Roman Catholic Church through a conversion of mind and heart. The process is open to all persons, regardless of religious background or philosophical persuasion, who genuinely seek, by God’s grace, to live their lives in the distinctive Catholic Christian faith.