Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults

You Sought and Found

Coming into Full Communion with the Faith

Adults who choose to become Catholic follow a period of inquiry and discernment, called “RCIA” — or the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Coming into full communion with the Catholic Church means that you choose this faith, its rituals, and Christ’s teachings as your spiritual footing — so you can be the best you can be for the rest of the world.

The process

RCIA begins with a Period of Inquiry, in which you decide if this a course you want to follow.

Step 1

After conversation with a priest or RCIA director, you stand before the church community during the Rite of Acceptance and share that you wish to become a member. The church assembly affirms this desire and you officially become a “catechumen.” You will be paired with a “sponsor” — someone already a Catholic who will listen and support you during this period of learning.

As a catechumen, you meet weekly with others like you and with RCIA directors to review Scripture, consider what God is saying to you in those readings, what changes are needed in your life to respond to God’s inspiration, and what living as a Catholic means.

Step 2

In the early Spring as we approach Easter, catechumens and their sponsors and families publicly express their desire to the Diocesan Bishop during the Rite of Election.  Their names are recorded in a book as “the elect.” What follows next are 40 days of Lent — a period of preparation before Easter, marked by prayer, study, more reflection and spiritual direction.

Step 3

Finally, the Sacraments of Initiation take place during the eve of Easter at the Holy Saturday Easter Vigil Liturgy, when you — the catechumen —  receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist. Now you are fully initiated into the Catholic Church!

Per the US Catholic Conference of Bishops:

“The Easter Vigil takes place on Holy Saturday, the evening before Easter Sunday. This is the night that “shall be as bright as day” as proclaimed by an ancient church hymn as we joyfully anticipate Christ’s Resurrection The Holy Saturday Liturgy begins with the Service of Light, which includes the blessing of the new fire and the Paschal candle which symbolizes Jesus, the light of the World. The second part consists of the Liturgy of the Word with a number of scripture readings. After the Liturgy of the Word, the catechumens and candidates are presented to the parish community, who pray for them and join in the Litany of the Saints. Next, the priest blesses the water, placing the Easter or Paschal candle into the baptismal water. Those seeking baptism then renounce sin and profess their faith after which they are immersed into the baptismal water three times with the clergy pronouncing the words, ‘I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.’

After the baptism the newly baptized are presented with a candle lighted from the Paschal Candle. They are then confirmed by the priest or bishop who lays hands on their heads, and invokes the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. He then anoints them with the oil called Sacred Chrism. The Mass continues with the newly baptized participating in the general intercessions and in bringing gifts to the altar. At Communion, the newly baptized receives the Eucharist, Christ’s Body and Blood, for the first time.”

What it may mean to you

In the words of one adult who became Catholic through the RCIA process at the Casa, “All my pieces came together that magical night – the Saturday evening before Easter, when I became a Catholic…. Everyone is trying to get all the pieces together… but RCIA made the difference.”

After completing RCIA, individuals often feel inspired to try new things, such as volunteering in new ways or even becoming a sponsor for those who will follow in their footsteps to also become Catholic. The Franciscan friars and the Casa community are excited to walk with you on this journey. We view Christ’s message as a call to live with joy, by radiating peace and compassion instead of judgement or blame. This is what we stand for at the Casa.

Would you like to stand with us?

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