RCIA – Religious Educations for Adults

570947_rciaIn accordance with the directions of the Church, our program leads participants through three steps towards their full initiation into our faith community, namely:

1. STEP 1: Rite of Acceptance: — Candidates are publicly welcomed into our Catholic faith community as “catechumens” ; they “declare their intention to the Church and the Church in turn…accepts them as persons who intend to become its members”

2. STEP 2: Rite of Election: — Catechumens are accepted as willing and prepared for immediate initiation into full membership in our Catholic faith community
Rite of Sending – at Saint Michael’s chapel
Call to continuing Conversion – at The Sacred Heart Cathedral

3. STEP 3: The Sacraments of Initiation: — The Elect receive the three Sacraments of Initiation, namely. Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist. These three Sacraments of Initiation are most appropriately received as part of the Easter Vigil Services.

Those who have already been baptized and those candidates for full communion into the Catholic Church community

Associated with these three steps are the following four periods:
1. Period of Evangelization and Pre-catechumenate (also known as Inquiry Period): this occurs prior to Step 1: it involves a preliminary introduction to the nature of the Catholic Church, its teachings and its practices; helps the inquirer to discover what it is he or she is seeking
2. Period of the Catechumenate (for both catechumens and candidates—the latter are those who have already been baptized in a Catholic or Protestant church but are not fully initiated): this occurs between Step 1 and Step 3, during which a number of things happen:
1. more in depth instruction/learning about: the sacred Scriptures; the Catholic Church, its beliefs, its prayer, liturgical and other practices; and its implications for their lives. This occurs in weekly sessions and when dismissed after the homily at Sunday Masses
2. developing relationships with the Catholic Christian community; this takes place in a number of ways, through a variety of interactions
3. minor exorcisms
4. blessing & anointing of the catechumens
3. Period of purification and enlightenment
1. this is a period of intense spiritual recollection that usually coincides with Lent; a period of purification and enlightenment; a time for reflection and prayer more than teaching
2. celebrate several liturgies:
1. Rite of Sending forth from the parish community to the bishop for admission to the final period o preparation (candidates are now called “elect”)
2. catechumens also undertake Three “scrutinies” by which they undergo a process of self-searching and repentance, and explore their own readiness to become full members of the Catholic Christian community
3. presentation of The Creed
4. presentation of The Lord’s Prayer
4. Period of mystagogy or post-baptismal catechesis: this occurs after Step 3 (i.e., after Initiation): deepening understanding of the mysteries of our faith; the newly initiated experience being fully a part of the Christian community by means of pertinent catechesis and, particularly, by participation with all the faithful in the Sunday Eucharist celebration. The new Christians, now part of Christ’s body (the Church), must now go forth with the entire faith community to continue the mission of Jesus Christ.