Becoming Catholic » RCIA - Process of Catholic Initiation

RCIA - Process of Catholic Initiation

From the time of the apostles, becoming a Christian has been accomplished by a journey and initiation in several stages. This journey can be covered rapidly or slowly, but certain essential elements will always have to be present: proclamation of the Word, acceptance of the Gospel entailing conversion, profession of faith, Baptism itself, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and admission to Eucharistic communion.

The Christian initiation of adults and school-aged children begins with their entry into the catechumenate and reaches its culmination in a single celebration of the three sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist. (Catechism of the Catholic Church) 

The four stages of the process usually unfold over a year, and are adapted to the individual needs and readiness of each candidate. It calls the whole faith community, as well as sponsors, to carry out certain roles – evangelization, prayer, support and accompaniment, availability, sharing and support.

Validly baptized Christians who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church use an adapted form of the RCIA.  A Baptism record or other certification is required.  

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And when Jesus had been baptized, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved.’
(Matthew 3:16-17)

The restored catechumenate, or the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, is surely one of the great fruits of the Second Vatican Council. I rejoice to learn how successful the catechumenate has been…. This is a wonderful grace, and a clear sign of the Holy Spirit’s renewing presence in the Church.

(John Paul II)