RCIA - Becoming Catholic
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
Adults who have not been baptized and who wish to join the Catholic Church are brought into the Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). The RCIA consists of 4 stages which come in the following order: Inquiry, Catechumenate, Election and Mystagogy.
The 4 stages are fluid and one's movement from stage to stage is individual. The first stage which is called "Inquiry" begins at any time one is moved to begin asking questions about the church and continues until one's questions are answered sufficiently to merit movement to the second stage.
The Second Stage is marked by the Rite of Acceptance for one who is not baptized. After the Rite, one is considered a "Catechumen".
The Third Stage is marked by the Rite of Election, in which those individuals who are not baptized have discerned that God is calling them to be full and active members of the Roman Catholic Church. The Rite of Election is celebrated at a Sunday Mass by the Catechumens with the bishop (or his representative). Those who celebrate the Rite of Election are the "Elect" who are formally initiated into the Catholic Church. After the Rite of Election, the "Elect" experience a more intense spiritual preparation for reception of the Sacraments of Initiation. During the Sacred Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday) the "Elect" are brought into the full union with the Catholic Church. At the Easter Vigil those who have not been baptized experience the Sacraments of Initiation which are Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion. After the Easter Vigil, the "Elect" become "Neophytes" or "new members" of the Church.
For those individuals sho have been baptized in another Christian denomination, the journey to full communion with the Catholic Church is marked by the Rite of Welcome to Continuing Conversion. These individuals are considered "Candidates for Full Communion into the Catholic Church". Their faith journey may vary in length and intensity according to their prior experience of the Catholic Church. These individuals may be brought into Full Communion at different times during the year.
Following full initiation, the new Catholics, now called "Neophytes", continue to meet on a weekly basis to break open the Mysteries (Sacraments) they have celebrated. This begins the lifelong study and growth in the faith that is expected of an adult Catholic. This final stage is called "Mystagogy" and runs throughout the year. After Full Communion, Neophytes are asked to continue their growth in the faith by regularly attending an Adult Education class of their choice. We are never really finished with "Mystagogy".
For more information on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, please contact Sydney Farnum at extension 32.
Children age 7 through 18 are brought into the Church through the CICCA which parallels the RCIA in all of it's stages. The young people are instructed in a manner suitable to their age and comprehension. Younger children are given instruction at another time while those who are in the teen years are joined with the adults. Children are first and foremost involved in either Sunday School of Religion or St. Anne's Catholic School. Adolescents and pre-adolescents are to be active in the Junior High and Senior High Religious Education programs. Supplementary classes are held as needed for the full formation of the young person. Please contact Jim at the Church Office to make arrangements.