Adult Initiation Process
The process of becoming Catholic is known as the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults or “RCIA”. This period of spiritual and intellectual formation includes prayer, study of the Catechism, and discernment.
RCIA is intended for adults who are:
- Unbaptized and would like full initiation into the Catholic Church through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.
- Baptized in another Christian tradition and seek full communion of the Catholic Church through the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.
- Baptized as infants or children but have not received the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.
Proof of valid Christian baptism is required (certificate or letter of verification from one’s pastor or church of baptism).
Four Stages of RCIA
Discerning the call to become Catholic requires time, reflection, and prayer. Presuming at least a one-year commitment, RCIA is a process that involves participation in ceremonies, rituals, and special gatherings of the whole parish community.
- Pre-catechumenate—Inquirers that have decided to investigate the Catholic faith or who are completing their initiation meet to learn and discuss the “basics” of Catholic prayer, life, teachings, and worship.
- Catechumenate—Inquirers begin to attend Sunday Mass as a group. Those that are unbaptized become known as “Catechumens” and those that are baptized are known as “Candidates”. Following the homily the group is dismissed to reflect on the scriptures for that day.
- Purification and Enlightenment– During the six weeks of Lent, a focus on deep prayer and spiritual preparation takes place. The goal is that the Catechumens, now called the “Elect”, and Candidates will be ready for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults at the Easter Vigil ceremony.
- Mystagogy-The newly initiated, who are called “neophytes”, continue to meet as a group to reflect on their experience at the Easter Vigil and how that has prepared them for their new lives as disciples in the Church.
Sponsors are vital to the RCIA process. Sponsors must be fully initiated, practicing Catholics and at least sixteen years of age.
There is a separate process for active Catholics who have received the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist and now as adults wish to receive the sacrament of Confirmation.
For further information, please call Samantha Hannon, RCIA Coordinator, at 313.277-3110 ext. 222.