What made you decide to seek information on becoming a Catholic?
Are you wondering.... is the RCIA process for me?
The RCIA process is for three groups of people:
- Those who are not baptized (known as "catechumens")
- Those who were baptized in another Christian denomination and want to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church
- Baptized Catholics who were not instructed in the Catholic faith and who have not completed their initiation through the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.
- The latter two groups are known as "candidates"
RCIA has four stages of formation
During this period, "inquirers" can receive answers to some of their most pressing questions about the Catholic faith and discern how this faith might connect with their personal story and their desire for a closer relationship with Jesus Christ and the Christian community. There is no time limit to this period. When ready, inquirers are invited to continue the journey through participation in the ritual called the Rite of Acceptance into the order of Catechumenate.
This is the second period of preparation. This stage varies in length according to each person's needs. Catechumens (those preparing for Baptism) and Candidates (those already baptized who are preparing to join the Catholic Church), will spend time being introduced to Catholic beliefs and way of life. The Scriptures and Catholic teachings will guide them, while participation in various forms of worship, prayer and parish activities will help integrate them into the Catholic lifestyle. A sponsor will be chosen to provide individual support, and the parish community will continue to welcome them and pray for them. This stage culminates in the celebration of the Rite of Election where catechumens are officially accepted for the Easter Sacraments and are now called "elect". Baptized candidates may also participate in this rite, but are called to continuing conversion.
Purification and Enlightenment
This period, which coincides with the season of Lent, is a time of final preparation for initiation. Lent is ordinarily that time for all to turn from sin and be enlightened by Christ. During this time, the Elect engage in prayer and reflection about their growing relationship with Christ and the Church. They discern how they will live out that relationship in their everyday lives. The centerpiece of this period of prayerful preparation is the celebration of the Scrutinies. This period climaxes with the celebration of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil liturgy on the night before Easter.
Mystagogy means "leading into the mysteries". This final period lasts from Easter Sunday until the completion of the Easter season, which is 50 days later on Pentecost Sunday. It is a time when the newly initiated reflect on that which they have just experienced and begin their lifelong pilgrimage of growth as the mysteries of their faith unfold.
What people have to say about their experiences in RCIA
"My experience with RCIA was twice as rewarding. What I mean by that was being a "snowbird" I met six great classmates at, now, my home parish of Immaculate Conception -- and five more classmates at St. Maximilian Kobe in Port Charlotte, FL. On top of that, two great groups of religious instructors who I owe a lot for making me feel comfortable and at ease expressing my beliefs during my journey into the Catholic faith and Church community. The Rite of Acceptance - both here and at my Florida parish - and at the Cathedral with the Bishop, only to be capped off with the most moving experience of receiving the Sacraments at the Easter Vigil -- will always be with me throughout my lifetime. So if anyone out there is thinking about attending RCIA process, do it. You won't regret the journey and the outcome will be one of the most rewarding things that can happen to a person in their lifetime" 2016
“After attending Immaculate Conception for several months, I was truly moved and honored when Father Jerry invited me to learn more about RCIA. The classes we attended helped me to realize that I was still able to learn and grow. I truly enjoyed the fellowship and conversations with members of the RCIA class and our teachers. This is truly a very special group of people, and I believe that we share a lasting bond. Throughout the RCIA process, I was so appreciative of the support from our entire congregation. I am so grateful to be part of this wonderful, spiritual community" 2016
What people have to say about their experiences