The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is a program for people interested in the Catholic faith, whether they are non-Catholics thinking about becoming Catholic, or Catholics who wish to learn more and/or embrace the Catholic faith. The program starts with a period of instruction and progresses into a more in-depth experience of Catholicism and then invites participants into a process of initiation. Often this includes the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism (for those not yet baptized, or baptized in another denomination), Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist.
At St. Anthony’s we offer the following program for Adults who wish to come into full communion with the Catholic Church. There are a number of steps an individual will move through and there is no set timeline that must be adhered to although the Sacraments are administered at Easter.
A person may take as long as they, and those journeying with them, deem appropriate.
What are the steps of RCIA?
Prior to beginning the RCIA process, an individual comes to some knowledge of Jesus Christ, considers his or her relationship with Jesus Christ and is usually attracted in some way to the Catholic Church. This period is known as the Period of Evangelization and Precatechumenate. For some, this process involves a long period of searching; for others, a shorter time. After a conversation with a priest, or RCIA director, the person, known as an "inquirer," may seek acceptance into the Order of Catechumens, through the Rite of Acceptance. During this Rite, the inquirer stands amidst the parish community and states that he or she wants to become a baptized member of the Catholic Church. The parish assembly affirms this desire and the inquirer becomes a Catechumen.
The Period of the Catechumenate can last for as long as several years or for a shorter time. It depends on how the person is growing in faith, what questions they encounter along the way, and how God leads them on this journey. When a Catechumen and the priest and the parish team working with him or her believes the person is ready to make a faith commitment to Jesus in the Catholic Church, the next step is the request for baptism and the celebration of the Rite of Election.
The Rite of Election includes the enrolment of names of all the Catechumens seeking baptism at the coming Easter Vigil. Typically, on the first Sunday of Lent, the Catechumens, their sponsors and families gather at the Cathedral Church. The Catechumens publicly express their desire for baptism to the diocesan bishop. Their names are recorded in a book and they are called the Elect.