The R.C.I.A. or The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is a process through which individuals are brought into a lifelong commitment to and faith in Jesus Christ within the Catholic Church. This process is for those who are not baptized, those baptized in another faith community, and for those baptized Catholic but who have not received Eucharist or Confirmation. It is made up of four periods separated by three rituals.
INQUIRY—a period for questions and introduction to the faith, but without any commitment by the individual. Those who discern that God is calling them to become Catholic will go through--
THE RITE OF BECOMING A CATECHUMEN (for those not baptized) or THE RITE OF WELCOMING (for those baptized)-- a ceremony in which they declare their intention and desire of entering the Church and living as members of God’s people and the Church blesses and accepts them into the
CATECHUMENATE—a period of instruction in the life of the Church and of living as a Catholic Christian. Having shown sincerity, understanding of the faith and commitment during the Cathechumenate, the catechumens and candidates will be chosen to receive the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil through
THE RITE OF ELECTION, held by the bishop on the first Sunday of Lent. He will inquire as to their readiness and urge them to spend Lent in prayer, discernment, and preparation for Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist at Easter. They, the Elect, will then enter the period of
PURIFICATION AND ENLIGHTENMENT—the Lenten period during which Elect will join the Christian community in reforming their lives so that they can fully and freely commit themselves to Christ at the Easter Vigil through
THE CELEBRATION OF THE SACRAMENTS OF INITIATION—the climax and high point of the Church’s life when it celebrates the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, renews its baptismal promises and receives new members through Baptism, Confirmation and the sharing at the table of the Eucharist. This celebration is followed by a period of
MYSTAGOGIA—a time for the newly baptized begin their Christian life by deepening their grasp of the Paschal Mystery and in making it part of their lives through meditating on the Gospels, sharing in Eucharist, and in works of charity. This formal period lasts until Pentecost when they share Eucharist with the Bishop as Neophytes or New Ones.
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