Want to become Catholic? We would love to have you join us in Christ’s Catholic Church.
Please contact Brian Ruh, who will be glad to meet with you to guide you along the road to becoming Catholic. Brian can be reached at 836 – 0011 ext 122 or firstname.lastname@example.org
A Catholic life of discipleship is an ongoing daily decision to follow Christ more deeply every day. Thus, to prepare for such a serious commitment to follow Jesus Christ with your whole life, the Church has designated a time for formation and preparation leading up to Baptism, Confirmation, and reception of Jesus in the Eucharist. Typically this formation process begins in September and ends at the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday. The formal process of becoming Catholic is called the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, or RCIA for short.
What Is R.C.I.A.?
The Rite of Christian Initiation or RCIA is a learning and loving process in which a conversion of the heart brings you closer to Jesus Christ whom God has sent for the salvation of all.
The rite of initiation is suited to a spiritual journey of adults and consists of four continuous periods
During the inquiry period, the parishioners of the Catholic family share their own faith stories as they listen to the journeys, questions and hopes of those who have come to ‘check us out’. Through this time, the Church shares her life story – its traditions, people and history. This sharing and exchange of personal experiences leads the inquirer to discover similarities between his or her own story and the story of Jesus and the Church. This first step of the RCIA is a time of unhurried reflection and discovery. Each inquirer is a unique individual who will journey at his or her own pace.
The word “catechumen” comes from biblical Greek and literally means “one who sounds out something”. The second step of the RCIA process is known as the Catechumenate. The purpose of this catechumenate period is to give the inquirer, who makes a decision to journey through to Christian Initiation, a thoroughly supportive and encouraging environment. An inquirer becomes a catechumen through a formal Rite of Welcoming. During this ceremony, celebrated during a Mass with the parish community, the catechumen is given a special blessing and a bible, which will be used in the coming weeks to experience the living word of God along with their fellow catechumens and parishioners.
The third step of the RCIA is a time for spiritual purification and enlightenment. It spans the season of Lent and generally concludes at the Easter Vigil when those to be initiated are baptized and confirmed, and share in the Eucharist for the first time. Lent is an especially appropriate time for this step of reflection and examination of one’s motivation.
On the First Sunday of Lent parishes throughout the diocese confirm the catechumen’s readiness for initiation. In a ceremony called the Rite of Election, catechumens are sent forth to gather with the bishop. Then, in the name of all the People of God, the bishop calls them by name and invites them to proceed to the Easter sacraments of initiation. From this moment on those chosen to be initiated are called the elect. Their names are written in the Book of the Elect. With prayer and support from all parish communities in the diocese, the elect now begin the last and most intensive weeks of their journey to full initiation into the Catholic Church.
The newly initiated begin to experience the blessings of their first days and weeks as fully initiated Catholics. Like a newly married couple, they continue to need the support of relatives and friends as they journey onward and begin to discern their own call to be sent in Jesus’ name to witness to the Gospel.
The seven weeks of Easter time from Easter Sunday to Pentecost form the fourth and final step in the RCIA process. This step is titled mystagogy. The name comes the Greek and refers to the profound and joyous “mystery” of living life fully aware that Jesus is Lord. The newly initiated are called neophytes (from the Greek for “new believers”).