Learn more about becoming Catholic
R.C.I.A. (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults)
St. Patrick Catholics offer testimony about the RCIA
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults [RCIA] is the faith-stirring process by which adults seek a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and decide whether to commit themselves to Jesus’ mission and His Church.
Would you like to learn more about becoming a Catholic?
St. Patrick's RCIA process will help you make that journey with support and encouragement.
What is RCIA?
It is the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. It is the term the Roman Catholic Church uses for the process of welcoming and forming adults to enter the Catholic Church.
If I start the process, am I obligated to join the Church?
There is no obligation on the part of anyone to “join the church.” There is no cost. You do not need to bring a sponsor. You only need the desire to learn more about the Catholic faith. What happens next is up to you.
What is the schedule of the RCIA process?
The 2022-2023 RCIA process begins August 22, 2022 and concludes on April 30, 2023
The RCIA is divided into four periods or stages:
The First Stage: The Period Of Inquiry:
This first stage of the RCIA is a time of reflection and discovery, whereby a person begins to search out God's call to enter more fully into the life of the Church. Helping the inquirer in this process are members of our own parish family who form the RCIA team. Team members meet weekly with the inquirers, helping them to discern God's calling through prayer, encouragement, and the sharing of their own faith stories. The basics of the Catholic Christian faith are presented during this time. Inquiry sessions happen from 6:45 to 8:15 p.m. weekly beginning Aug. 22 and continuing to Nov. 14.
The Second Stage: The Catechumenate.
Once the inquirer decides to enter into the process which will lead to full initiation into the life of the Church, they move into the next stage of their formation through the Rite of Acceptance, which will happen at 11 a.m. Mass on Sunday, Nov. 20. In this stage, an unbaptized inquirer is now called a catechumen and a baptized inquirer is now called a candidate. During this period of formation, the faith of the catechumen or candidate is deepened through prayer and reflection upon God's word at the 11 a.m. Mass on Sundays, Nov. 20 through Feb. 19, 2023. The dismissal sharing is followed by refreshments and a learning session with a credentialed presenter until 1:30 p.m. We will continue to meet on Monday evenings in order to grow in our knowledge of the faith. During this time, both catechumens and candidates are joined on their faith journey by a sponsor -- a fully initiated Catholic who has a relationship with Jesus Christ and who makes personal prayer, community worship, and works of service a priority in his or her life.
The Third Stage: Period of Lenten purification leading to the Easter Vigil:
Near the time of the first Sunday of Lent, the catechumens and candidates are presented to the archbishop in the Rite of Election. From this point, catechumens are now called “elect.” The period following this rite is one of purification and enlightenment for the catechumen, the candidate, and indeed for the entire parish community. It happens from Feb. 26, 2023 through Good Friday, April 7, 2023. We all are called to reform our lives according to the demands of the gospel. At the conclusion of this period, the elect and the candidates are initiated into the Catholic Church during the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, April 8, 2023. For the elect, this means the reception of all three sacraments of initiation -- Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. For the candidates, it means entry into full communion with the Church through the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.
The Fourth Stage: Mystagogy:
The Greek word mystagogy means "entering into the mystery" or “a deeper exploration into the mysteries” of our faith. This phase, which occurs after Easter, marks a time when those who have become full members of the Church now have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the mystery of the faith. This period reminds everyone that growth in the faith is ongoing and lifelong.
What the RCIA is not
RCIA is not a class on the fundamentals of the Catholic faith. Rather, it is a conversion to a way of seeing the world and one's experiences as though God and Jesus Christ are present and active in them. We believe that your decision to look into the Catholic Church is your response to an invitation made by Jesus himself to come to know him through this community. In other words, Jesus is the one who invites you into a personal relationship with him. Conversion describes the process of coming to know Him more deeply. The Catholic Community of St. Patrick wishes to serve as an instrument to help you to grow in your relationship with the Lord. The goal of the RCIA process, therefore, is not to fill your minds with facts and knowledge about the Catholic Church. Facts about the Catholic Church are important -- but facts are dead pieces of knowledge without a living relationship with the Lord -- a relationship which we hope to nurture and support.
A process, not a program:
The RCIA can best be described as a process of coming to know Jesus Christ on a personal level. Coming to know Jesus cannot be fitted into a 30-week instruction program. It is a process of ever-deepening growth and commitment -- a process that continues long after you are initiated into the Catholic Church. We will try to help you discover your readiness to make that commitment to Christ in and through the Church. We will celebrate your journey to Christ in various rituals. Finally, the RCIA is very much a public process that takes place in the context of the community of St. Patrick. The rites that we celebrate usually take place at the Sunday liturgies, when our community comes together to worship. In summary, the RCIA is a faith journey. Each of us has a unique path for our faith development. Therefore, there is no obligation on the part of anyone to “join the church.” We stand ready to assist you in reflecting upon whether God is calling you at this time to follow him as a member of the Catholic Church.
I am interested or have further questions. What do I do now?
If you wish to learn more, contact Tim Grove at firstname.lastname@example.org or 502-719-0362 [landline].