The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.) is a process of prayer, study, discussion and celebration for unbaptized adults or adult baptized Christians from other faith traditions who wish to investigate the possibilities of becoming members of the Catholic Community. Baptized Catholics who have had no training or preparation in the Church are also welcome to the process. Originally a process that was part of the early Church but which fell into disuse during the Middle Ages, the RCIA was restored by the Second Vatican Council as the preferred way of accepting people into the Catholic Faith.
R.C.I.A. is a plan for the way Catholics welcome and form adults and children of catechetical age (7+) in the way of Jesus as it is lived in the Catholic tradition. The initiation sacraments include Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.
Inquirers who enter the program typically fall into one of the following categories:
- Never baptized.
- Baptized in other Christian churches.
- Baptized Catholic seeking to complete initiation by being confirmed and receiving Eucharist.
At the Rite of Acceptance, the unbaptized inquirers officially enter the catechumenate, the process which leads to reception of the initiation sacraments. We then call them catechumens.
At the Rite of Welcome, which we at OLG usually celebrate in conjunction with the Rite of Acceptance, the baptized inquirers also enter the catechumenate and are then called candidates.
The catechumenate serves to form these adults in the wisdom and tradition of the Church and varies in length according to the individual.
Those catechumens and candidates found ready to take part in the next celebration of the sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday are formally chosen or “elected” and recognized by the bishop at the Rite of Election celebrated at the cathedral on the First Sunday of Lent. Our parish “sends” our catechumens and candidates to the bishop for this election at the rite of Sending at which we recognize the progress they have made in their spiritual formation and testimony is given as to their readiness.