Becoming Catholic - RCIA
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, is a process through which non-baptized men and women enter the Catholic Church, and those baptized in other Christian faiths enter Full Communion with us. It includes several stages marked by study, prayer and rites at Mass. Participants in the RCIA are known as Catechumens (non-baptized) and Candidates (those seeking full communion).
They undergo a process of conversion as they study the Gospel, profess faith in Jesus and the Catholic Church, and receive the sacraments of initiation.
The RCIA process follows the ancient practice of the Church, which was restored by the Second Vatican Council. Since 1974, the Rite for Christian Initiation for Adults has been in use in the United States.
What is RCIA?
RCIA is the new - though truly old - process reintroduced by the Church in the 1960s, to prepare adults for Catholic baptism. Actually based on the tradition of the very early Church, RCIA is now embraced in dioceses all over the world. No longer do individuals seek out private "tutoring" with a priest in order to become "converts." Today, this gradual embrace of Catholic doctrine -- and receiving of the Holy Spirit -- involves the learner, the priest and the entire parish community.
Learners progress through a time of "inquiry," (early questioning),
to the "catechumenate," (intense study)
through "purification and enlightenment," (preparation for the Easter sacraments)
At Easter Vigil, in a powerful, spirit-filled liturgy, they are baptized and become "neophytes." And, like the rest of us, they continue with conversion that will last the rest of their lives.
The Four Periods of the RCIA Process
Inquiry: The first step of the RCIA journey of faith
- Helps the inquirer to discover what it is he or she is seeking
- A time of sharing stories of Scripture
- A time of sharing personal stories
- A time of asking questions
- A time of initial conversion
- Creates a hunger for liturgy
- Lasts as long as each individual inquirer needs - a period of no fixed duration
Catechumenate: The second step of the RCIA journey of faith
- Begins with the Rite of Acceptance and concludes with the Rite of Election
- An extended period of formation in the Christian Life
- Presents Catholic teaching and enlightens faith
- Fosters participation in the Liturgy through dismissal
- Learn how to serve others
- A place of conversion
- Catechumens learn the Christian way of life from the Christian Community and their sponsor
Purification and Enlightenment: The third step of the RCIA journey of faith
- Begins with the Rite of Election (first Sunday of Lent) and extends through the Lenten season.
- A period of intense spiritual preparation consisting more in interior reflection than in catechetical instruction
- Catechumens are now called the Elect
- Preparation of the Elect for the Easter Sacraments celebrated at the Easter Vigil
- Three purifying rituals, known as the Scrutinies are celebrated on the third, fourth and fifth Sundays of Lent
- Invitation to the community for intense prayer
Mystagogy: The fourth step of the RCIA journey of faith
- The fifty days between Easter and Pentecost
- The newly initiated are called Neophytes
- A deeper understanding of God's word, the sacraments, and the lived Christian life
- A time for unpacking and remembering
- Celebrate the fullness of the Liturgy with the Christian community
- Sent forth with the community to continue the mission of Christ
- A time to develop closer ties with the faithful
- A time to discern and recognized their gifts and their call to discipleship
- Final period of the Initiation process, which in reality continues for a lifetime
Anyone who feels called to learn more about the Church as an "inquirer," or if anyone knows of someone asking questions about the church contact Karin Traffas: 620-294-5212 or call the parish offices.
Meeting times, dates and locations vary. They are announced on this website and in the weekly bulletin.