Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults
RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) is the process by which non-Catholics enter the Catholic Faith. To become a Catholic, one must understand the teachings of the Church, believe in those teachings, and be a baptized Catholic. Those who are not baptized will study the teachings of the Catholic Church through RCIA and conclude their journey with the reception of the Sacrament of Baptism into the Church.
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What does the process look like?
The Rite of Christian Initiation is based on the principle that the process of conversion proceeds gradually, in stages. Progress from one stage to the next is marked by a liturgical celebration in the midst of the parish community. The experience and needs differ based on age and religious background, and so the length of time may vary for each person. Nevertheless, there are certain similarities among all the groups and the process they will experience, and these can be listed as follows:
The first stage is called the period of inquiry (or the precatechumenate). This is when the individual first expresses an interest in becoming a Christian or a Catholic, and begins to explore, with the help of the parish community, what his or her relationship with Christ might be and how that might be enriched and deepened by joining this Christian community. There is no liturgical rite to mark the beginning of this stage. This period of inquiry may last several months or several years and ends either when the inquirer decides against continuing in this direction or when the inquirer feels ready to move on and the community is prepared to welcome him or her.
The second stage is called the catechumenate and, for the unbaptized listed above, who are now called catechumens, should last no less than one full year. For the baptized but uncatechized the period should be a similar length. For the candidates for full communion, this stage could well be much shorter. The Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens and the Rite of Welcoming mark the beginning of this stage. Catechesis for this period is rooted in the Lectionary and the Word as it is proclaimed in the midst of the community. This is also a time for the catechumen or candidate to learn how to live as a Catholic Christian. This period ends when the catechumens and candidates express their desire to receive the sacraments of initiation and the community acknowledges their readiness.
Purification and Enlightenment
The third stage is the period of purification and enlightenment and coincides with Lent. During this time the elect (formerly the catechumens) and the candidates enter into a period of intense preparation and prayer which includes the three public celebrations of the scrutinies and is marked by the presentations of the Creed and the Lord's Prayer. The Rite of Election and the Call to Continuing Conversion are celebrated at the beginning of this stage. This period ends with the celebration of baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil. (Note: only the elect are baptized. All the groups are confirmed and welcomed to the table.)
Here at St. Joseph
RCIA requires not only academic preparation but also a commitment to the Church's teachings. You must be willing to live out an authentic Catholic life and strive to imitate our Lord and live a holy life.
RCIA classes typically begin in autumn and conclude before Easter, with Baptisms taking place at the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday.
If you are interested in learning more about the Catholic Faith please contact Deacon Hudson Henry at 859-341-6609 x4022 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org