Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA)
What is the RCIA?
The RCIA or Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is the process through which anyone 18 years or older is initiated into the Catholic community.
Who is it for?
There are three types of persons for which this process is designed: those who have never been baptized, those who have been baptized in a different Christian faith tradition, and those who have been baptized as Catholics but have not received religious instruction and have not received the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.
What are the steps of the RCIA process?
There are essentially five steps.
The first step is the INQUIRY phase. People interested in joining the Catholic Church spend some time in small group sessions that are tailored to answer their questions about the Church.
The second step is CATECHUMENATE phase. After spending time inquiring about the Church, those interested are invited to take part in the Rite of Acceptance. This rite celebrates their desire to be part of the community and a more formal time of study follows. Catechumens attend Sunday Mass with the community and they also meet one evening during the week to learn Church teachings, doctrines, sacraments, etc.
The third step is the period of PURIFICATION AND ENLIGHTENMENT. After a period of time before Lent begins, participants in the Catechumenate are asked to make a decision about whether they are ready to move forward to the Easter Vigil and the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation. The first Sunday of Lent those who are ready participate in the Rite of Sending. This rite celebrates the community sending them forth to the Bishop later in the week where they will participate in the Rite of Election. During the following weeks of Lent, there are various celebrations which help the now Elect to further prepare for the Easter Vigil.
The fourth step of the process is the RECEPTION OF SACRAMENTS. The Easter Vigil is celebrated on the evening before Easter Sunday. At this time, the participants receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.
The last step is the period of MYSTAGOGY. The now fully initiated Catholics meet for the period between Easter and Pentecost during the week. At this time, the Neophytes have time to delve deeper into any subjects that they wish to know more about. This gives them time to feel comfortable about their role as Catholics. After Pentecost, they are ready to take their place in the church.
The RCIA process is ongoing at St. Hedwig. You may schedule an interview to find out more about becoming a Catholic at any time during the year.
RCIA candidates are expected to attend weekly meetings. Please see the RCIA Schedule below for the expected time commitment: