Pictured above: Our 2012 RCIA Candidates. Congratulations!
How Does One Become Catholic?
Some people become Catholic by being baptized as infants, growing up in Catholic homes, receiving formal catechesis and coming to share in the sacraments of the Church.
Other Catholics come to the church as adults, already baptized, having received their religious formation in another faith. They may have been contacted by a Catholic, but they probably made the first move by talking to a priest or sister or someone else about the Church.
For those who think they might wish to become Catholic, the Church has the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), which is the formal title for the whole process of preparing adults for initiation into the Catholic Church.
What Is The Process?
It is an extended period of listening to the scriptures, sharing real life stories, praying, learning about Catholic tradition, observing how Catholics actually live their faith, and celebrating rites in Church.
How Is R.C.I.A. Organized?
The following steps are included in the Initiation Process
I. Period of Evangelization and Precatechumenate
This is a time for hearing the first preaching of the Gospel.
FIRST STEP: Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens
"Inquirers" who experience initial conversion and wish to become Catholic are accepted as "Catechumens" or "Candidates" by the church through the liturgical rite.
II. Period of Catechumenate
This period, which begins with the Rite of Acceptance, includes catechesis and the rite connected with it. It may last for several years, and comes to an end on the day of Election.
SECOND STEP: Election or Enrollment of Names
In this liturgical rite, usually celebrated the First Sunday of Lent, the Church formally ratifies the Catechumens' and Candidates' readiness for the sacraments if initiation. At this point, they are known as the elect.
III. Period of Purification and Enlightenment
This period is rather short and normally coincides with Lent.
THIRD STEP: Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation
Ordinarily the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist) are celebrated at the Easter Vigil Liturgy.
IV. Period of Postbaptismal, Catechesis or Mystagogy
While this period of fifty days, form Easter to Pentecost, completes the initiation process, it is actually a passage into the mission and ministries of the Catholic Church. This time is necessary for introducing a person into the rhythm and life of the Catholic Church.
How Long Does It Take To Become Catholic?
Respecting that each person is unique, the Christian Initiation Process does not have a time-line for an individual’s conversion journey. For some this may be a matter of months; for others it may be over several years.
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