The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
RCIA is an extended period of pastoral formation and guidance aimed at training three specific groups of adults in the Christian life. Those adults include:
- Persons who have never been baptized and are seeking a home in the Catholic Church, referred to as “Catechumens;”
- Those who have been baptized in other faiths and now wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church;
- Those who were baptized as Catholics, but for whatever reason, never received the other sacraments of initiation, Confirmation and Holy Communion.
Those in groups 2 and 3 are referred to as “Candidates.”
RCIA begins for one of those persons when he or she first inquires about becoming a fully initiated Catholic, and what that might mean for them. Then, through a gradual process that takes place within the parish community, the faithful join with the catechumens and candidates in reflecting on the value of God’s plan of salvation in and through Jesus Christ.
The faithful, by renewing their own conversion, provide an example that will help the catechumens and candidates to obey the Holy Spirit more generously. The length of this process varies according to the many forms of God’s grace, the free cooperation of the individuals, and the action of the Church.