RCIA - Rite of Christian Initiation

​RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) 


For individuals preparing to enter into the Catholic Church we offer formation classes to prepare you for this wonderful and grace filled event.  

What is the RCIA?

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is the process through which interested adults and older children are gradually introduced to the Roman Catholic faith and way of life.

The RCIA is a communal process and involves a number of stages punctuated by liturgical rites to aid and assist the potential convert toward the final rite, usually at the Easter Vigil at which time they will become full members of the Roman Catholic Church. The entire process takes several months, (ideally a minimum of one complete liturgical year), but participants are generally invited to proceed at a pace which suits them individually. The Church prefers to call this the process and not a program.

During the Second Vatican Council there was a call for the reinstatement of the Catechumenate. The vote was 2,165 Yes, 9 No, and 1 Null. In 1966 the provisional ritual was distributed, followed by the 2nd draft in 1969, and in 1972 Pope Paul VI promulgated the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults.

In 1986 the United States of America (USA) Bishops approved US additions to the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults and National Statutes and a national plan of implementation. In September 1988, the RCIA became mandatory in the USA

catechumen is a person who has never received baptism. A candidate is a person who was already baptized. The Catholic Church acknowledges other Christian baptisms as long as theTrinitarian formula “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” and flowing water was used.

Who is RCIA for?

  • Non-Catholics who want to find out more about the Catholic Faith
  • Those who want to join the Catholic Church through Baptism, or Profession of Faith
  • Those who were baptized Catholic as infants but never received religious education, Confirmation, or First Eucharist.

Why an RCIA Process? (Wasn't the old Inquiry Class good enough?)

Christians are made, not born. There is nothing automatic or instant in the Rite of Christian Initiation. The development of faith takes time; it cannot be rushed. The candidates must be allowed sufficient time for their faith to ripen. Ordinarily, this means anywhere from one to two years of formation depending, of course, on the background and spiritual maturity of the candidates. 

In the past (in fact, hundreds of years ago), a person desiring reception into the Christian Community studied, prayed, fasted and did good works for three years. Initiation takes time. Initiation is more than doctrinal instruction. It is a way of coming to know the traditions, the people, the prayer and the actions of the community.

Five stages of the RCIA Process

  • Inquiry or Pre-Catechumenate
    At this time participants are encouraged to ask questions and explore the basic tenets of the Catholic faith and to reflect upon these in light of their own life experiences.
  • The Catechumenate
    It is during this time that most of study of Scripture, doctrine, traditions and meeting with the community takes place.
  • Purification & Enlightenment
    For those preparing for baptism, this stage takes place during the Lenten season where they reflect upon their own faith experiences in a more intense, prayerful way. Other times during the year, baptized candidates reflect more deeply upon the meaning of their baptism and celebrate the Sacrament of Penance.
  • Sacraments of Initiation
    Candidates for baptism celebrate their initiation into the Church on the holiest of nights-the Easter Vigil - where they are baptized, confirmed and receive Eucharist. Candidates for full communion celebrate their Rite of Reception several other times throughout the year.
  • Mystagogia
    This is a time for candidates to reflect upon their experiences of being new Catholic Christians and find their place in the ordinary life of the Church.

If you are interested in learning more about the RCIA process or want to enroll in class starting in the fall of 2017, please call the parish office at 360-757-0128.

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