The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) names the process
by which interested persons gradually become members of the catholic
Church. For more info contact Fr. Zanni 330-394-2461.
is provided for
adults who are interested in becoming Catholic with the Rite of Christian
Initiation pro-gram. Please get involved in this program by providing a
snack. The schedule is posted on the church bulletin board. Please bring a
snack for 15 adults to the Parish Center by 2:30 p.m. or 6:45 p.m. Monday
The R.C.I.A. is primarily a journey of faith:
awareness of stirring of faith and curiosity within one's heart,
those stages of asking and seeking,
beginning involvement with Christian/Catholic people,
hearing the Gospel proclaimed and by faithful reflection and prayer on
this Word of God,
and discussion about the Catholic experience,
involvement in the works of charity and justice with those already
committed to the catholic way of life,
discernment of God's call for them as individuals,
steps of commitment,
sacraments of initiation (baptism, confirmation, and eucharist)
to a life of
faith, love, and justice lived in communion with Catholics throughout
Conversion, a gradual process
as a rite, marks stages along the path to full commitment in the
Catholic Church; the R.C.I.A. as a process, describes in broad terms
what this gradual commitment means.
as formation gradually looks both to the inner transformation of the
individual to God's call as given week by week in the lectionary of
Scripture readings at the Sunday Eucharist and to the gradual
transformation of the person to an active member of the local church
wherever he or she lives.
The R.C.I.A. contains main stages or phases:
The Period of
Inquiry (Also known as the time of Evangelization or Pre-Catechumenate),
Purification and Enlightenment/Scrutinies,
Triduum with the Sacraments of Initiation and
The Period of
Inquiry has as its purpose a time
acquainted with the catholic Church and
to hear the
good news of salvation from Jesus Christ our Savior;
it is a time
to look within at one's one life story and see connections to or needs
for the gospel story of good news.
period, the gospel of Jesus is proclaimed, and inquirers look within
their own story to make and mark connections.
reflective process becomes a continuing, on-going method used by
inquirer and member alike.
lasts as long as the person needs it to last,
few months to several years, if necessary.
writes a formal letter, when ready, stating that s/he is ready to move
to the Catechumenate phase, stating why they want to move and how they
see himself or herself as ready.
period, some may decide that this is not the right time for them to
consider membership in the Catholic Church, either because of their own
life circumstances or because they feel some other Tradition is better
Period of the
catechumenate embodies the first stages of commitment leading to full
For a person to enter this phase, s/he must already
have come to faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and
sincerely desire to become members of the Catholic Church.
phase, the catechumens now gather with the Catholic community on Sundays
for the first part of the mass, during which, together, we hear the
Scriptures, respond to them, and reflect on the meaning of God's Word
for us personally and as community through the homily.
homily, catechumens are dismissed , and with their Catechist, continue a
process of reflection and application of the Scriptures to their own
period, the initial conversion is deepened and appropriated; the person
comes to know more and more deeply the love of God in their own lives
and in the midst of the church community.
This period, too, lasts
as long as the person needs it to last, from a few months to several
years, if necessary.
unbaptized, this phase must normally last 12 months.
Period of Purification or
The Period of
Purification corresponds to that time known in the Catholic Church as
the six-weeks of preparation for Easter become the days of
prayerful time for catechumens and candidates,
who are now known as
the Elect, as they prepare for the moment of welcome as full
members and are established as such by the Sacraments of Initiation.
This period is
begun by the Rite of election, usually celebrated at the
Cathedral Church with the Diocesan Bishop; by this rite they are
accepted as candidates for the Sacraments by the Bishop, representing
the fact that this decision is not theirs alone.
rite takes place on the first Sunday of Lent.
Lent, special prayers are offered at the Sunday Eucharist for the
catechumens and candidates; they are called scrutinies; these prayers
for strengthening in grace and virtue and for purification from all past
evil and from any bonds which hinder them from experiencing the love of
Throughout this period, the Elect are invited to join with
the whole Church in a deeper practice of works of charity and in the
practice of fasting.
period, the common reflection on the Scriptures continues; the readings
of Lent were chosen with the themes of continuing conversion in mind.
Toward the end of the period, the Church continues the custom of
"handing over" to the Elect the Creed (the summary of our faith) and the
Lord's Prayer (which represents its practice of continuing prayer after
the command of Jesus who taught us to pray).
Celebrating the Sacraments of Initiation
of Initiation are celebrated at the Easter Vigil, an extended
night-watch of prayer, singing and hearing the Word of God.
By the waters
of baptism, a person passes into the new life of grace and becomes a
member of the Body of Christ.
special holy oil called chrism seals the initiation by the power of the
Holy Spirit and participation at the Table of the Lord in the eucharist
marks full membership in the church.
students are on Easter-break, those to be initiated and their Sponsors
stay to take part in the Holy Sacraments of Initiation.
Period of Mystagogy
The Period of
Mystagogy lasts from Easter Sunday until the completion of the Easter
season, fifty days later on Pentecost Sunday and completes the
Those who have just shared in the sacraments
of initiation are now called Neophytes and during this period of Easter
joy they reflect on what they have just gone through and look to the
future as to how they can now share in the mission of Christ who came to
bring salvation and life to the whole world. This period of time
reminds the whole church that life in Christ constantly calls us to grow
and to look for new ways to live the life of grace, personally and
Catechumen or Candidate?
By means of
the processes described in the document, R.C.I.A., interested
non-baptized persons become Catechumens, and Catechumens become full
members of the Catholic Church by means of baptism, confirmation, and
eucharist, which are referred to as the Sacraments of Initiation.
one speaks of a baptized person from a Protestant tradition, for
example, who is preparing for reception into full communion in the Roman
tradition, one is speaking of a different matter.
person should not be led automatically through the full catechumenal
process or be called a catechumen. Instead, we call him or her a
candidate." By this we mean that this person is a candidate for the
catholic Sacrament of Confirmation and a candidate preparing to receive
Holy Communion in the Catholic Church and thus become a full member of
the Catholic Church, the Catholic Communion.
candidates for full communion in the Catholic church find certain
elements of the catechumenate process helpful in their preparation.
For example, the focus on continuing conversion is appropriate for
any Christian, especially at a time of transition. An
understanding of Catholic beliefs, the practice of Catholic observances
in the church year over an appropriate period of time and the experience
of Catholic community are all necessary for an informed commitment that
will last." The differences in the process must be tailed by the
candidate in conjunction with the RCIA Director and the Church-provided
candidates are already baptized, the liturgical rites that mark the
steps of the formation process are different from those of
there are rites of welcoming by the parish community
and recognition by the bishop, a celebration of the call to continuing
conversion and a penitential rite. Reception into full communion
in the Catholic church takes place with a profession of faith,
confirmation and eucharist." By penitential rite we mean that the person
examines his or her own life with some scrutiny to things that s/he has
done right and things that s/he knows has been wrongfully done; these
latter things need to be repented of. Sometimes the Sacrament of
Reconciliation is the appropriate means for this person to mark the
movement from sin to grace, from old life to new life before s/he enters
into full communion. Sometimes it is a less formal act of
How long does it take?
"The Rite of
Christian Initiation is not a program.
It is the
church's way of ministering sensitively to those who seek membership.
For that reason some people will need more time than others to
prepare for the lifetime commitment that comes with membership in the
Catholic Church. The usual length of preparation is from one to
two years. For those already baptized and who seek full communion
in the Catholic church, the time may also vary.
reasonable that catechumens or candidates experience the yearly calendar
of Catholic practice at least one time around in order to make an
The process of
spiritual renewal and catechesis should not be hasty, especially for
those not accustomed to the fasts and feasts and Sundays and seasons the
way Catholics observe them.
One of the
best time for the sacraments of initiation or the Rite of reception into
full communion is the Easter Vigil. Lent prepare catechumens, candidates
and the whole community for baptism,, confirmation and eucharist. The
celebration of the Easter Vigil dramatically points to the wellspring of
the church's life:
the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ."