The RCIA, or Rite of Christian initiation of Adults, is a process of conversion, a life changing experience, whereby non-baptized adults, or adults baptized in another faith tradition, enter into full communion of the Catholic Church. It is a journey of faith that provides an overview of what the Catholic Church believes and teaches, but also welcomes the Inquirers into a community of believers. Inquirers normally choose a Sponsor, a baptized Catholic, who witnesses to the Catholic faith and accompanies them on their journey.
Several phases and “Rites” mark the initiation process. “Inquirers” enter the “pre-catechumenate” period and are then welcomed in the “Rite of Acceptance”. Following the Rite of Acceptance, those who have never been baptized, called, “ catechumens,” and those already baptized in another faith tradition, called “candidates for full communion” enter the “catechumenate” or instructional phase.
Normally on the first Sunday of Lent, the catechumens and their sponsors, participate in the “Rite of Election.” In this Rite, the catechumens and candidates express their desire to receive the sacraments at the Easter Vigil, or another suitable time. Following the Rite of Election, a time of purification takes place during the Lenten season. On the third, fourth and fifth Sundays of lent, the catechumens participate in the “Scrutinies” which are prayers for them as they journey closer to initiation into the Catholic Church.
The entire parish community participates in the RCIA process through their prayers, support and example. The RCIA process can last anywhere from a few months to three years depending on the readiness of the catechumen or candidate. Sessions at St. John’s are normally held weekly. Please contact any member of our staff for more information if you, or someone you know, are interested in becoming a member of the Catholic Church.