It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you. He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provoked you that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is he who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle
St. John Paul II
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the Church's ritual process for calling adults to a conversion of mind and heart and preparing them for a full and active life in the Church as disciples of Jesus. During the process, adults participate in liturgical rites that both mark the progress of their journey and form them more deeply by God's grace. The culmination of that ritual process is the celebration of the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.
Unlike our usual understanding and ritual that takes place at a specific moment, the RCIA is spread over a longer duration. The process of becoming a mature Christian involves more than just learning about the faith of the Church. Becoming a Christian presumes a relationship with God who becomes the ground of our being. To be a Christian means that we have claimed the values of the Gospel as our own and have committed ourselves to the teaching of Jesus. The RCIA aims to transform the entire person into an individual who has truly put on Christ Jesus. Obviously, this kind of conversion of the whole person takes sufficient time to mature.
- Unbaptized adults seeking to receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist (Holy Communion)
- The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) Adapted for Children (also called the Children’s Catechumenate) is the process for children & adolescents over the age of 7 and under 18 who have not yet been baptized or who have not received First Eucharist or Confirmation with their peers
- Baptized adults from another Christian tradition who wish to become (received into) members of the Catholic Church
- Adults who were baptized in the Catholic church at a young age and who now wish to complete the sacraments of Initiation by receiving the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.
Are you an adult seeking to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation?
Congratulations! Through this Sacrament your life in the Spirit will be strengthen and enriched! The Archdiocese provides several opportunities per year for adult Catholics (18+) to receive the sacrament of Confirmation. Because this sacrament is so intimately united to the sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist, persons wishing to be confirmed must:
• Have been baptized Catholic
• Have already received their first Eucharist as a Catholic
• Have been through a process of preparation to receive the sacrament of Confirmation
Learn about the RCIA Process
What are the steps of the RCIA?
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is comprised of four phases. These phases follow the experience of conversion to and initiation in the Christian faith.
Inquiry or Precatechumenate: This phase mimics the first experience of hearing the Word of God, of becoming aware of God's presence, love, and work in our lives. In this first awareness, one is getting to know who God is through story-telling of their own life and the stories of the Bible. It is the phase in which the first stirrings of faith in Jesus Christ begin. For one that is already baptized, it is a re-awakening of that awareness and beginning of renewal, as well as first intentional integration into the community of believers. The duration of time in this phase for the un-baptized and baptized, but un-catechized may be anywhere from 6 weeks to six months, depending on how one progresses.
Ritual: Rite of Acceptance (un-baptized) and Rite of Welcoming (baptized) for those that have indicated, and given evidence of conversion, and desire to follow the way of Christ through the Catholic Church.
Catechumenate: This phase is the apprenticeship towards Christian discipleship. It is accomplished through formal instruction in the core teachings and beliefs (doctrine) of the faith and experienced through liturgy, service, and parish community life. This comprehensive approach aims for a thorough integration of the faith. The Catechumenate follows the liturgical cycle of the Church since that is how the faith is experienced in daily life.
For the un-baptized, and the un-catechized, at least one full liturgical year is required, but this may last possibly longer, depending on when a person begins and how they progress.
For one who is baptized and well-catechized, this period is fit to one's individual needs, but still retains the necessary formation from both formal instruction and integration with the parish.
Ritual: Rite of Election for the un-baptized who have given clear evidence of acquaintance and integration of the core teachings and beliefs and desire to accept baptism. Call to Continuing Conversion for the baptized who also demonstrate acquaintance and integration of the core teachings and beliefs and desire to complete their initiation, or come into full communion with the Catholic Church.
Purification & Enlightenment: This phase, indicated by its name points to an intense, inward reflection and discernment. In this phase, the candidate seeks to be purified in their intentions to follow Christ more fully, to recognize any sinful attachments or attitudes that still separate or diminish their relationship with Christ, and to receive the light they need to follow him more authentically. It is no longer a time to "learn teachings that were not picked up" - those must be completed fully prior to beginning this phase. Included in this phase are spiritual retreats, and smaller rituals intended to support and assist each person. This phase occurs for the un-baptized and un-catechized (baptized) during Lent, following a 1-2 liturgical year preparation in the Catechumenate. For the baptized that are well catechized, this phase is adapted to fit their needs, whenever that may be.
Ritual: Sacraments of Initiation - Baptism, Confirmation, First Holy Communion for the un-baptized. For the baptized, Profession of Faith for non-Catholics, plus Confirmation and First Holy Communion. For the baptized only Catholic, Confirmation and First Holy Communion.
Mystagogy: It is said that all of the baptized faithful are continuing this phase because we are still reflecting on the story of Christ, and still experiencing the conversion from our Christian initiation, regardless of when that occurred. The Mystagogia, strictly speaking, occurs for the neophytes and newly professed members for the period between Easter and Pentecost. Some experts propose a year-long mystagogia. The mystagogia period is similar to the story of walk along the road Emmaus. The disciples were so excited and filled with wonder telling the story of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection that they did not recognize it was Christ to whom they were speaking, until the breaking of the bread. He helped them understand his story in relation to the Scriptures, and all they had experienced. It is a time of reflection, celebration, and active participation in the life and mission of the Church. For the newly-baptized, this may be a longer period than the six weeks after Easter. For the baptized, newly professed, this period is adapted to individual needs.