Adults (RCIA) Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults

ADULTS RCIA

THE CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS 

“RCIA” stands for the RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS.   When the Church uses the word “adult” with regard to Christian initiation, it refers to anyone who has reached the age of reason.   RCIA is an ongoing process especially designed for:

  • those interested in finding out more about being a Catholic Christian
  • adults and children age 8 and older who desire to be baptized in the Catholic Church
  • those baptized in another faith tradition who desire to become Catholic
  • baptized Catholics who would like to complete their sacraments of initiation (First Communion and Confirmation)

 

FOUR STAGES OF THE RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS (RCIA)

 FIRST STAGE:   “Inquiry” (also known as the Period of Evangelization).   Baptized or unbaptized persons who have had very little formal Christian training and would like to learn more about the Catholic way of life.  The primary focus of this phase is growing in faith and personal relationship with Jesus Christ.   Inquirers gather on Sundays at 11:00 am for about an hour.

 

SECOND STAGE:  Catechumenate” (ancient word meaning ‘to echo God’s word’).  When inquirers are ready, they move into the next phase known as the catechumenate.  People preparing for Baptism during this period are now called catechumens; those already baptized are called candidates.  The primary focus of this phase is receiving instruction and formation in the Liturgy, the liturgical year, God’s Word, Catholic doctrine, service, outreach and incorporation into the life of our parish community and the wider Church.  Conversion is a gradual process; time is given for faith to take deep root in those wanting to become Catholic.  The entire process usually takes about one year of formation for someone who has had very little religious training.  Catechumens gather weekly at the 9:30am Mass and are dismissed after the homily to “break open” and reflect on the Word of God that was proclaimed at Mass.  They continue to meet at 11:00am for another hour to explore Catholic teaching.  All this is done in a relaxed, adult faith-sharing atmosphere that invites a deeper relationship with God.  The length of time this stage takes varies depending on several factors, such as when a person joins the process and how much or how little formal religious or spiritual training a person has had.

 

THIRD STAGE:  “Purification and Enlightenment” (also known as LENT).  Catechumens are now called the “elect.”  This is the final preparation before the reception of the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil.  It is a time of prayer, penitential rituals, discernment and spiritual preparation for the sacraments they will receive.  Meetings take place on Wednesday evenings.

 

FOURTH STAGE:  “Mystagogia” (ancient word meaning ‘exploring the mysteries’).  The newly baptized Catholics gather again after Easter to reflect on their experience of the sacraments.  Meetings are held several times during the Easter season, culminating with a brunch on Pentecost Sunday. 

 

Adults, Teens and Children (over the age of 7) journey in separate but parallel tracks, joining together at special liturgies, during Lent and ultimately at the Easter Vigil for Initiation.

 

Teens:  Teens journey with their peers through Teen Ministry. For more information contact Mark Kniepman at  ascensioncatholicteens@gmail.com phone: 254-1595 x3063

Children: See CHILDREN RCIA for more information. Contact: Mary Birmingham at phone: 254-1595 x3068 mbirmingham@ascensioncatholicsch.org