THE RITE OF CHRISTIAN
INITIATION OF ADULTS (RCIA)
What is the RCIA?
The Rite of Christian
Initiation of Adults is the Church’s ritual process for calling adults to a
conversion of mind and heart and preparing them for a full and active life in
the church as disciples of Jesus.
Who is the RCIA for?
Primarily for those who are
unbaptized and preparing for the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and
Adapted for children seven
years and older who have not been baptized and are preparing for the sacraments
of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.
Also adapted for those who
have been baptized in another faith tradition and want to come into communion
with the Catholic Church by making a profession of faith and celebrating the
sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.
The RCIA is not a program
or a class, but a process or journey of initiation and it consists of four
periods and each period is bridged with the celebration of a liturgical rite in
Church. At the heart of this process
is conversion – not just turning around one’s intellect, but one’s entire being
to Jesus Christ. This journey is not done alone, but with the company of a
sponsor and the St. Rita Community.
Periods of the RCIA
The first period is Inquiry, a
beginning of one’s faith journey. It
is a time for hearing the Gospel, the beginnings of faith and conversion, a
time for asking questions and discovering answers during our weekly
gatherings, and an introduction to the Church. At no time is anyone
obligated to continue. At this time
individuals are called candidates.
The next period is the Catechumenate and
is meant for those individuals who have decided to pursue baptism or their
profession of faith in the Church.
The focus is learning about the doctrine and tradition of the Church.
One way of thinking about this period is as an
apprenticeship – learning how to
At this point the upbaptized are called Catechumens, and those
baptized in another faith tradition continue to be called Candidates.
During Lent the catechumens and candidates
begin the next step known as Enlightenment and Purification
and the process becomes more like a
retreat with prayer and time spent drawing closer to God in
preparation for the celebration of the Easter Sacraments.
Following initiation into the Catholic Church
that takes place at the Easter Vigil the newly baptized and those received
into full communion with the Church enter the Period of Mystagogia,
the 50 day season of Easter. During
this time they reflect on the meaning of the sacraments they have celebrated
and participate with the rest of the community in the Eucharistic life of
the church and its mission for justice and peace.
The newly baptized are known as neophytes.
How can I found out more?
Barbara Stanton, Faith Formation Director, 503-252-3403 x.104 or
firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and an appointment.