The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the process through which interested adults and teens (14 yrs. and older) are gradually introduced to the Roman Catholic faith and way of life. The RCIA process is a period of reflection, prayer, instruction, discernment, and formation. The process generally takes one year or more (there is no set time to complete this process of faith) with the celebration of baptism occurring during the Easter Vigil (the Saturday evening before Easter). Those who enter the process are expected to:
- Attend Mass on Sunday
- Attend a weekly RCIA session (Thursday evenings, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.)
- Become involved in the activities of our parish
Want to know more? Contact Lynn Ekstrom to schedule an interview or to attend an inquiry session.
The RCIA is divided into four distinct periods of formation.
Precatechumenate Period – This is also known as the Period of Inquiry. During this period, Inquirers are invited to ask questions about Catholic teachings and beliefs. There is no obligation involved in attending these meetings – they are intended to help a person decide whether they want to continue learning about the Catholic way of life.
Catechumenate Period – Inquirers who wish to continue now move onto this next stage. A special rite of welcome is celebrated, The Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens. Catechumens are offered an extended period during which they are given formation and guidance, aimed at training them in the Christian life. The period of the Catechumenate is a time for:
- Continuing to build community with the RCIA group
- Getting more involved in parish activities; getting to know the parish community
- Learning about the basic teachings and beliefs of the Catholic Church
- Exploring important and foundational Scripture passages
The conclusion of this period leads into the Rite of Election. Celebrated on the First Sunday of Lent, the archbishop invites all “elect” to the cathedral in order to ratify the catechumens’ readiness for Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.
Purification and Enlightenment Period – This period corresponds with Lent and is intended to be a period of increased introspection and coming closer to God. The aim of this period is to eliminate what is weak and sinful, and affirm what is holy. During this period, the Elect participate in a number of Rites, including the Scrutinies and Presentations.
This period concludes with the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist during the Easter Vigil on the evening of Holy Saturday.
Period of Mystagogia – This is a fifty day period which lasts from Easter Sunday until Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost Sunday marks the end of the Easter season for that year as well as the end of the initiation process. Now the “neophytes” enter into a lifelong Christian formation along with the rest of the faithful. Mystagogy is a time for
- Community and Neophytes to grow in deepening their grasp of the paschal mystery with continual mediation on the Gospel
- Sharing in the Eucharist
- Doing works of charity.