The term RCIA stands for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. RCIA consists of a series of stages of preparation, as well as rites (rituals), which take place over a period of anywhere from nine months to a few years. The RCIA orginated in the earliest traditions of the Church for welcoming new members into the Catholic community.
The RCIA process, a faith journey for those who are interested in joining the Catholic faith and those Catholics who may have been separated for a time and wish to return. It involves a scriptural approach, coupled with Catholic traditions and doctrine to guide those interested in knowledge and love of Jesus Christ and our Church.
The RCIA meets on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM.
PERIOD OF EVANGELIZATION AND PRECATECHUMENATE
This is a time of no fixed duration or structure, for inquiry and introduction to Gospel values, an opportunity for the beginnings of faith
FIRST STEP: INTRODUCTION INTO THE ORDER OF THE CATECHUMENS
This is the liturgical rite, usually celebrated on some annual date or dates, marking the beginning of the catechumenate proper, as the candidates express and the Church accepts their intention to respond to God’s call to follow the way of Christ.
PERIOD OF THE CATECHUMENATE
This is the time, responding in duration to the progress of the individual, for the nurturing and growth of the catechumens’ faith and conversion to God; celebrations of the word and prayers of exorcism and blessing are meant to assist the process.
SECOND STEP: ELECTION OR ENROLLMENT OF NAMES
This is the liturgical rite, usually celebrated on the First Sunday of Lent, by which the Church formally ratifies the catechumens’ readiness for the sacraments of initiation and
the catechumens, now the elect, express the will to receive these sacraments.
PERIOD OF PURIFICATION AND ENLIGHTENMENT
This is the time immediately preceding the elects’ initiation, usually the Lenten season preceding the celebration of this initiation at the Easter Vigil. It is a time of reflection, intensely centered on conversion, marked by celebration of the scrutinies and presentations and of the preparation rites on Holy Saturday.
THIRD STEP: CELEBRATION OF THE SACRAMENTS OF INITIATION
This is the liturgical rite, usually integrated into the Easter Vigil, by which the elect are initiated through Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist.
PERIOD OF POSTBAPTISMAL CATECHESIS OR MYSTAGOGY
This is the time, usually the Easter season, following the celebration of initiation, during which the newly initiated experience being fully a part of the Christian community by means of pertinent catechesis and particularly by participation with the faithful in the Sunday Eucharistic celebration.
A catechumen is a person who is seeking Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist in the Roman Catholic Church so as to become a member of the Body of Christ.
A candidate is a person who is baptized in a different Christian tradition, but seeks full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. This person makes a profession of faith, and receives the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.