The process of becoming Catholic is formally known as the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). It is a gradual process of spiritual formation that includes prayer, sharing, and study and occurs in the context of the parish community. It is intended for adults who:
- Are unbaptized and would like to be fully initiated and welcomed into the Catholic Church through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist
- Were baptized in another Christian community/tradition and seek to be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church through the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist
- Were baptized as Catholics as infants/children but have not received the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist
Full initiation into the Catholic Church begins with an inquiry stage. If you are interested in obtaining more information about the Catholic faith and the process of initiation of adults, please contact Fr. Lewis (301-320-4538, firstname.lastname@example.org) or Deacon Longano (email@example.com). You will be invited to attend a series of meetings with others like yourself who are interested in RCIA.
After several weeks of weekly meetings, inquirers are invited to express their interest to respond to God’s call and follow the way of Christ in the Catholic Church. If the person is unbaptized, he or she will then become a catechuman; if the person is already baptized, he or she will become a candidate. This stage also involves further study of the Catholic faith during weekly meetings.
During the first week of Lent, the catechumens and candidates are formally elected or enrolled by the Church, and they thereby express their will to receive the Sacraments of Initiation. This is followed by further reflection and study during weekly meetings.
At the celebration of the Easter Vigil, the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist are received, and the elect are fully initiated into the Catholic Church. This is followed by a brief series of catechetical teachings now that one is experiencing being fully a part of the Catholic Church.
The RCIA process begins with the first weekly meeting on Thursday, September 14 at 7:30 pm, and continues through winter and spring, culminating with the Easter Vigil. Afterwards, the group continues to meet weekly for approximately one month.
Sponsors are a vital part of the RCIA process, and each adult participating in RCIA will require one. Sponsors accompany the adults beginning with the catechumen or candidate stage, developing one-on-one relationships with them, serving as a companion, listener, and mentor; sharing her or his own faith; and attesting to the catechumen or candidate’s faith, intentions, and readiness for reception. After the formal election of the catechuman or candidate during Lent, the sponsor assumes the role of godparent for one who is called to baptism at Easter.
Sponsors must be at least 16 years of age, be fully initiated into the Catholic Church, and regularly practice their faith. Catechumens and candidates may request that a Catholic friend or colleague be assigned as their sponsor. Sponsors are assigned early in the process and attend the special ceremonies of each phase of the process with their catechumen or candidate. Sponsors also are asked to be present at RCIA meetings on Thursday evenings and at Sunday Mass with their catechumen or candidate as often as they are able.
If you are interested in the Catholic faith and in joining the Catholic Church, please contact:
Deacon Don Longano