The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults is an extended period of catechesis (instruction in the faith) and spiritual formation in the Roman Catholic Church. Although it is primarily the process by which people become full members in the Roman Catholic Church, RCIA welcomes serious inquirers at all levels of knowledge, faith and intent. Ultimately, the process culminates in the reception of one (or more) of the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.
An Outline of the Stages of the RCIA Process
Period of Inquiry, or Pre-catechumenate
Inquirers are invited to deepen their understanding of how God has been active in their lives, and begin to learn what the Catholic Church believes, teaches and proclaims to be revealed by God.
Rites of Acceptance and Welcome (mid-November)
Inquirers are recognized by the Church as genuinely seeking greater instruction and formation. Dismissals begin, where RCIA participants depart Sunday Mass after the homily to go study the Word of God together.
Period of the Catechumenate
The catechumens (non-baptized) and candidates (baptized) reflect more deeply on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, His Church, and their personal journeys of faith.
Rite of Election (mid-February)
The catechumens are welcomed by the bishop and declared “elect” in the sight of the Church—as legitimately seeking baptism. Candidates are also blessed by the bishop.
Period of Purification and Enlightenment (Lent)
Those elected for Baptism together with the candidates deepen their prayer and examine their lives more closely as they prepare to celebrate the Sacraments of Initiation.
Rites of Initiation (Easter)
The elect and candidates profess their faith and receive their Sacraments of Initiation at the Great Vigil of Easter, welcomed into full communion with the Catholic Church.
Period of Mystagogy
The newly initiated persons reflect further on the mystery of the Easter Sacraments and become more integrated into the community of the Church as faith-filled and active disciples of the Lord.
At the Cathedral of Saint Paul, optional biweekly pre-RCIA meetings are offered from April through August. The formal RCIA process begins in September and ends about a month after Easter. RCIA meets Thursday nights from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in Hayden Hall in the lower level of the Cathedral and Sundays for Mass at 10:00 a.m.
For more information about RCIA, please contact Patrick Conley