Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults
"In the Sacraments of Christian initiation we are freed from the power of darkness and joined to Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. We receive the Spirit of filial adoption and are part of the entire people of God in the celebration of the memorial of the Lord's death and resurrection."
(RCIA General Introduction, P1)
We are excited that you are discerning becoming Catholic and welcome you to our "family of families".
The first step is to contact your local Catholic Church. To find a parish, click below.
The following information is meant to give an overview of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), which is the process the Church uses for those desiring to become Catholic.
An Overview of the RCIA
Parishes welcome new members into the Roman Catholic Church through a process of formation, faith sharing, and rituals known as the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). This process includes several stages marked by prayer, study, and discussion.
The RCIA is structured over a series of ceremonial steps and periods of learning, the timing of which may vary for each individual. One may take as much time as he or she needs in the initiation process before entering into full initiation in the Church through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist.
The RCIA process may also be adapted to meet the specific needs of children and youth in what is called RCIC (Rite of Christian Initiation for Children) and RCIT (Rite of Christian Initiation for Teens).
Who is the RCIA for?
All who are open to discerning their personal experience of faith and learning more about the Catholic Church are welcome to begin the RCIA process. All that is truly required is a sincere desire to learn, to grow, and to develop one's relationship with God. The RCIA process is applied to the following:
Unbaptized: persons (age of discretion: 7+ years) who have never been baptized and who need a process to help them grow in awareness to God's call to conversion as well as ways to respond to that call. They are considered "catechumens."
Baptized in Another Christian Church: Those who were baptized into another Christian denomination and wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. They are considered "candidates."
Baptized but uncatechized Catholic Adults: Those who were baptized Catholic as infants who are seeking to complete their initiation. These adults will be prepared to celebrate the sacraments of reconciliation, confirmation and Eucharist. They are also considered "candidates."
Stages of the RCIA
I. Period of Evangelization and Precatechumenate
This first stage is called the period of inquiry. This is when an individual first expresses interest in becoming a Catholic, and begins to explore, with the help of the parish community, to discern his or her relationship with Christ and how this can be deepened by joining the Catholic Church.
II. Period of Catechumenate
This second stage is an extended period which normally lasts one year or longer. This is a time of formation and education based on Sacred Scripture and the Tradition of the Catholic Church.
III. Period of Purification and Enlightenment
This stage coincides with the liturgical season of Lent. It is a time of reflection, prayer, and intense spiritual preparation rather than a time of catechetical instruction. A Lenten retreat is offered during this period.
IV. Period of Mystagogy
Catechumens celebrate of the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil, which has been done since the beginnings of the Church. Through this step the elect are admitted into the people of God.