What is Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is an initiation program that prepares individuals for full sacramental initiation into the Catholic faith (Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist).

Who is it for?

1) Adults who have never been baptized and want to become Roman Catholic

2) Adults who are Baptized Roman Catholics, but have not yet received First Holy Communion and/or Confirmation

3) Adults of other Christian Denominations who would like to become Roman Catholic.

Are you interested?
If so, please contact Fr. Morris at 949-2111.  St. Bernard’s offers RCIA programs in both English and Spanish.

Brief Overview
RCIA is a process of conversion and initiation into the Catholic faith that is divided by four distinct periods. Throughout these periods there are communal rituals and celebrations to mark transition steps from one period to the next. They are as follows:

1) Period of Evangelization and Precatechumenate –this a time of inquiry when individuals begin to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to follow Christ more closely.  It includes discussions and reflections on the Gospel so that the beginnings of faith can continue to grow.

Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens – this is a liturgical rite wherein those who wish to follow Christ express their desire publicly. After accepting their intention, the Church welcomes them into the community as Catechumens.

2) Period of Catechumenate – During this period, Catechumens continue to study and ponder the scriptures and teachings of the Church. They also have opportunities for anointings, prayers of exorcism, and blessings. Through prayer and study, the Catechumens becomes more aware of God’s love and power in their lives.

Rite of Election or Enrollment of Names – This liturgical rite is normally celebrated on the First Sunday of Lent in the Cathedral of every diocese. During the rite the Catechumens are called to receive the sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil in their parishes. Until they are baptized, Catechumens are called the Elect.

3) Period of Purification and Enlightenment – This is a period of intense preparation which includes Lent.  It aims to deepen one’s faith and conversion to our Lord Jesus Christ.  It also includes presentations of the Church Creed and Lord’s Prayer.

Sacraments of Initiation – At the Easter Vigil liturgy, the Elect complete their sacramental initiation into the Catholic faith through Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.  They become full members of the Catholic Church.

4) Period of Mystagogy – This last period of RCIA, mystagogy, literally means “entering more deeply into the mystery”.  During this time, those who completed their initiation into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil (i.e. neophytes, “new sprouts”), continue to reflect on the experience and meaning of the sacraments they have received.  It is also an opportunity for neophytes to begin participating more actively in other aspects of parish life.