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Christian Initiation (RCIA)

The faith formation process through which an adult becomes Catholic.

“Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

John 20:29


Parish Liaison:  Tammy Kessler, Director of Adult Formation, tkessler@stpatlou.org.  


Unsure of what Inquiry and RCIA are? 

Do you wonder if you could be a RCIA Sponsor? 

Stop by the Christian Initiation Open House.


What is the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, or RCIA?

The RCIA is a gradual, communal sacramental formation process for the formally initiating adults and children over the ages of 7+ into the Catholic Church.  The process is made up of several formation stages that are devoted to doctrine, prayer, liturgy, and Christian living. 

It is during this time people come to know Jesus on a personal level.  


What is a Rite?

In the Catholic Church, a rite represents a religious tradition and impacts how sacraments are to be celebrated.  Since the beginning of the Church, she has sought to evangelize in cultural centers of the world. Geographic areas have individual cultures that influence the religious practices of the area.  At St. Patrick, as part of the Roman Catholic Church, we are descendants of liturgical practices in ancient Rome.  Today, we celebrate Latin Rites. 


Click here to learn more about rites. 


Who is the RCIA for?

  • The unbaptized person (known as a catechumen)
  • The person baptized into a faith tradition other than Catholic (known as candidates for a profession of faith and full communion)
  • The baptized Catholic who did not receive the Sacrament of Confirmation and/or who was not raised with formal instruction (known as candidates for full communion)
  • People who wish to accompany these individuals along their journey of faith (known as sponsors) and people who will present a catechumen or candidate to receive the sacraments and form a lifelong relationship with them (known as godparents).
  • Anyone interested in the RCIA is not obligated to “join the Church.”  This formation is free and can last as long as an individual needs.


What Makes up the RCIA Formation?

The RCIA is divided into four periods or stages.  Click HERE to access additional information on the stages. 

  1. Inquiry or Pre-Catechumenate
  2. Catechumenate
  3. Purification and Enlightenment
  4. Mystagogy


What are the various ministries involved in the RCIA?

  • Community: initiation of new members can only occur within a community of believers.  
  • Sponsor/Godparent: a person who accompanies the candidate on the faith journey who is fully initiated and is a practicing member of the Roman Catholic Church
  • Catechist/Team Member: a member of the parish who helps present the faith to candidates in collaboration with the parish liaison

What is the Schedule of the RCIA?

The Holy Spirit moves us in different ways and times; therefore, entering the faith varies for the individual. We encourage anyone interested in the faith to contact the Adult Formation office, regardless of the time of year. 


Currently, we host traditional formation sessions on Monday evenings in the Fall. These sessions transition to Sundays at 11 a.m. in mid-November. Many, but not all, experience initiation in the Spring and at Easter Vigil. 


Additional Resources for Christian Initiation