Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA)
“…At every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1)
“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and on that day about three thousand people were added to their number. They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayers.” (Acts 2:41-42)
RCIA stands for “Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults”. This is a process through which non-baptized men and women enter the Catholic Church. The RCIA includes several stages marked by study, prayer and rites at Mass. Participants in the RCIA are known as catechumens as they experience a conversion that includes study the Gospels and profession of faith in Jesus Christ and his Catholic Church. This process culminates in reception of the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist at the Easter Vigil. The RCIA process was introduced following the Second Vatican Council as the normal way adults prepare for baptism. It seeks to reflect the ancient practices of the Church for the initiation of adults. Properly speaking, the Rite for Christian Initiation for Adults is the title of the liturgical book that sets forth the worship services and ceremonies that mark the significant stages within the catechumenal process.
Baptized Non-Catholics who seek membership in the Catholic Church follow a formational process that can parallel the RCIA some regards. “Coming into full communion with the Catholic Church” describes this process for receiving into the Catholic Church those men and women who are baptized Christians but not Roman Catholics. These individuals make a profession of faith but are not baptized again. Those who are preparing for reception into full communion with the Catholic Church are called “candidates”. usually participate in a program to help them understand and experience the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church. Some preparation may be with catechumens preparing for baptism, but the preparation for candidates is different since they have already been baptized and committed to Jesus Christ, and many have also been active members of other Christian communities.
Please contact the Parish Catechetical Leader for more information on becoming a Catholic.