Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults
The Journey of Faith
A person's faith journey always begins with God's initiation. God's presence can feel like a knocking door, a curiosity, a sense of wonder, a longing for healing, inner peace. Mysteriously, faith gradually changes from belief in something to belief in Someone with a desire to know that person even more.
The Church offers the opportunity to become acquainted with the Scriptures, its traditions and the Christian life, for those who have questions about the Catholic faith. This is the beginning of the process called RCIA.
What is RCIA?
RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) is the way by which people become full members of the Roman Catholic Church. Full membership requires a total formation that culminates in the sacraments of initiation: baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist. RCIA is a faith journey in which a person is introduced to the community, beliefs, liturgy, and apostolic work of the Catholic Church.
Who is it for?
RCIA is designed primarily for those seeking baptism. Since baptized Christians from other denominations may be seeking membership in the Catholic Church, the RCIA process is adapted to their needs as well. Baptized Catholics are also welcome who are seeking confirmation, thus completing their initiation sacraments.
What is the Process?
The purpose of any program of Christian Initiation is to allow people the opportunity to deepen their encounter with Christ and Catholic community. More is involved than merely learning a creed.
The process involves several aspects:
- Period of Inquiry and Rite of Acceptance
- Period of Formation
- Rite of Choosing (Election)
- Period of Sacramental Preparation
- Sacraments of Initiation
- Period of Continued Growth and Reflection (Mystagogia)
The RCIA may be a one- or two-year process because it respects the readiness of a person. The initial stage is called Inquiry. When candidates are ready, they participate in the Rite of Acceptance, and enter the Period of Formation by reflecting on the gospel of Jesus in light of their own life history. On the first Sunday of Lent, candidates assemble in St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC for the Rite of Election. After this, a Period of Sacramental Preparation occurs. Initiation sacraments take place during the Easter Vigil followed by a Period of Continued Growth and Reflection in which the candidates reflect further on the mystery of Easter and the ways in which they can become disciples of Jesus through the apostolic work of the Church.
Thank you for your interest in the Catholic Church.
Rev. Mark Zittle, O.Carm.
Director of University Church Ministry
Rose Hill: McGinley Center 106