Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is an adaptation of the traditions of the early Church in bringing new members into the Catholic community. It is a process by which the candidates enter into the Catholic community by entering a step-by-step process toward full membership in the Church.
Preparation is essential for being received into the Catholic Church and receiving the Sacraments of Initiation. During a period of preparation, a candidate is given the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of our faith and grow in a personal relationship with God through prayer and community. This period of preparation is guided by the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, or RCIA.
THE RCIA FORMATION PROCESS IS FOR:
Unbaptized - Adults who need a process to help them grow in awareness to God's call to conversion as well as ways to respond to that call, the R.C.I.A. gradually uncovers the story of God’s salvation for all; the mystery of Jesus’s life, death and resurrection; and the workings of the Holy Spirit as revealed in the beliefs, sacramental life and spiritual practices of the Catholic Church. They are considered catechumens. The process of Christian initiation (known also as the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, or RCIA) prepares you to enter into the Catholic Church by celebrating what are called the sacraments of Christian initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist (or Holy Communion).
Baptized in Another Christian Church - those catechized and uncatechized persons who are seeking full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. They are considered candidates. If you were already baptized in another Christian tradition, the initiation process prepares you to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church by celebrating the sacraments of Confirmation and the Eucharist (or Holy Communion).
Baptized but uncatechized Catholic Adults - persons who were baptized as infants and not given any religious upbringing within the Catholic Tradition. These adults will be prepared to celebrate the sacraments of Penance, Confirmation and Eucharist. They are also considered candidates.
THE FIVE PHASES OF THE RCIA PROCESS
There are five distinct phases of this process:
- Period of Inquiry - where one becomes acquainted with the Catholic Church and hears about salvation through Jesus Christ. This is a reflective period where individuals look at their own life story and begin to make connections with the gospel. This is a time for inquirers to explore questions they have about the Church. The length of time this takes will vary from person to person. Some may discern that they are not ready to move forward at this time, while others will determine that they want to move to the next stage.
- Period of Catechumenate - This stage comes after one has come to faith in Jesus Christ and desires to become a member of the Catholic Church. Individuals are welcomed formally into the "Catechumenate," where they will gather with the parish community on Sundays for the first part of the Mass. They will be dismissed after the priest's homily to spend time with their Catechist and continue a period of study and reflection on the scriptures and how they apply to their lives.
- Period of Purification or Enlightenment - this is a very prayerful time for catechumens. Usually beginning on the First Sunday of Lent they are formally welcomed by the Bishop and are accepted as candidates for the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist. This celebration is called the Rite of Election and henceforth catechumens are known as the Elect. During Lent, special prayers called scrutinies are offered for the elect. Scrutinies are prayers for strengthening and purification from any past wrongdoing.
- Celebrating the Sacraments of Initiation - This celebration takes place during the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday when the Elect are Baptized, Confirmed, and receive the Holy Eucharist. At this point, the person is fully initiated into the Catholic Church.
- Period of Mystagogy - Newly initiated Catholics continue their education and formation through the post-baptismal or mystagogy period. This is a time to reflect on the sacraments and the teachings of the Catholic Church. It is also a time to discern how best they can serve Christ through His church by becoming active in ministry.
CHILDREN'S RCIA PROCESS
The process for children who are unbaptized wanting to enter into the Catholic Church is the same as adults with formation. Because children of catechetical age are considered, for purposes of Christian initiation, to be adults (canon no. 852.1), they are included in the norms set forth by the RCIA. Children of catechetical age are old enough to hear and understand the call of Christ, and to respond with faith at their own age level. Consequently, their initiation is not based, as is the Baptism of infants, entirely on the commitment of the parents and the faith of the Church, but requires a genuine faith response on the part of the child. At the same time, the child is still dependent on his or her parents and will need continued nurturing in faith. Children of catechetical age are those who have reached the age of reason, which is generally considered to be age seven.
The Children's RCIA program is open to school-aged children from 7-17 years of age, who wish to explore the Catholic faith but have not completed the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist). Our program is a collaborative 2-year process between parents and catechists in preparing children to be lifelong Catholics by deepening their knowledge of the faith and developing a personal spiritual life. Students must be enrolled in the Holy Redeemer Faith Formation Program at least 1 year before the RCIA process may begin.
If you are ready to begin the process of learning more about becoming Catholic, please fill out the form below. You will be contacted by our Director of Faith Formation who will meet with you to determine the next steps for you. Since everyone's situation is different, the individual circumstances and sacramental needs of each person will be assessed. This is what determines the process to be followed and can affect the time frame involved.
- Adults, 18 and over click HERE to fill out the Adult Intake Form
- Children, ages 7-17, must register children in our Faith Formation program
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
For more information contact our Faith Formation Coordinator, Maria Falcon at 407-847-2500 Ext 212 or email at [email protected]