he Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is a four stage progression of educational and spiritual formation where participants are gradually introduced to Catholic beliefs and practices. It is a period of reflection, prayer, instruction, and discernment.
Adult Faith Formation
You advance at your own pace as there isn’t a prescribed timetable for completion. You are however encouraged to attend Sunday Mass, attend the weekly RCIA sessions, and become involved in the activities of the parish.
The RCIA program is open to anyone who wants to learn more about the Catholic faith. It is for you if:
• You are simply interested in learning more about Catholicism.
• You are non-Christian and want to be fully initiated into the Catholic Church.
• You were baptized in another Christian tradition and want to become Catholic.
• You were baptized Catholic, but you want to grow in faith and would like to complete your initiation through First Communion and Confirmation.
If after going through the process and the candidates feel ready, they are initiated into the Catholic Church through the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and First Communion.
Our RCIA Team’s mission is to accompany those that seek a closer relationship with Jesus. We are guided by the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Ignatian Spirituality, and the dynamics of our parish life. We integrate our insights through weekly faith sharing and multi-media arts and discussion.
The RCIA Process
The interview gives you the opportunity to talk about God and your faith in an informal yet private setting. Feel free to share your questions, joys, and struggles with a member of the RCIA team.
The four stages of RCIA are:
- Purification and Enlightenment
Stage I: Precatechumenate/Period of Inquiry
At this stage you interview the Church to try to discover just what it is you are seeking. Someone or something has drawn you to the Catholic Church. You will explore your faith with a group who may very well have the same questions you do.
This period is for discerning how the Catholic faith can play a role in your life so that you can make an initial decision to deepen your journey. Don’t worry, no commitments will be made until you are actually ready!
Stage II: Catechumenate
“I’d like to learn more.”
The Catechumenate is an extended period during which the candidates are given instruction, pastoral formation, and guidance on Jesus Christ, Christian beliefs and ethics, and the Catholic Church. Whatever was brought up the Precatechumenate period are further explored and matured. This is achieved through:
- Study of the Scriptures and Catholic doctrine
- Experience of Liturgy and Rites
- Connection with the parish community
- Service to the larger community
While it is a time of instruction, the focus remains one’s overall faith formation. At this stage you are invited to turn more to God in prayer and to trust God’s guidance in your life. You will continue to build community within your group and consider opportunities to get connected to the larger parish community.
The length of this stage depends on the questions you encounter, how you are growing in your faith, and how God is leading you on this journey.
Stage III: Purification and Enlightenment
“I want to go deeper.”
This is the final stage before the reception of the sacraments. It is intended to be a period of increased introspection and growing closer to God. It is a time for reflection and prayer more than teaching.
For those who feel called to full membership in the Church, the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist) are celebrated at the Easter Vigil. People can be received into the Church at any time, but the Easter Vigil is a very special night. The liturgy is most appropriate for the reception of new members, especially those who will be baptized for the first time.
Stage IV: Mystagogy
“I want to grow in my relationship with Jesus.”
The ancient Greek word mystagogia means “leading into the mystery.” After Easter, there is a period of reflecting as a community on the meaning of the sacraments that were just received, the Christian life, and the teachings of the Catholic Church.
There is also reflection on how to help in the Church’s mission of evangelization. Though Mystagogy is the final stage of RCIA, learning and growth in the Faith is a lifelong process.
ADLA Office of Religious Education, Adult Faith Formation
‘Missionary Disciples’ is the key term given to us by Pope Francis to describe the challenge of our time: How do we not just catechize or evangelize, but help people themselves to travel a path of ongoing conversion, life-long formation and mission with Christ. How can we not be teachers, but catalysts and companions of a self-driven formation process?”