Christian Initiation of Adults
Christian Initiation of Adults, or RCIA, is designed:
For those individuals who have never been baptized
For those individuals who want to come into full communion with the Church and deepen their Faith
For Catholics who have been baptized, but have not yet received Eucharist or Confirmation
Becoming a Catholic is a very profound and joyous experience. Some receive the gift while they are still infants, and over the course of time they grow in recognition of both the enormous grace that has been bestowed upon them and of the dignity and wonder of their identity as Catholics. Others come into the Catholic community while they are older children or adults. In these cases, it is necessary for people to have a grasp of the joyful process by which one becomes a Catholic.
Through stories, rituals, and symbols of the Catholic tradition, seekers are invited to deepen their faith, and celebrate their faith journey with the reception of the Sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation during the Easter Vigil Mass.
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is a rite of welcome, beginning, and reconnection. It is a faith journey of the community that helps us renew mind, heart, and spirit. The journey is guided by members of the parish who live by the Gospel of Jesus, helping newcomers understand their gifts and how those gifts benefit the community. It is also a personal journey, in which an individual looks at their own relationship with God. As the newcomer discovers Christ, their enthusiasm helps transform the whole parish.
The RCIA program is intended for adults who, after hearing the mystery of Christ proclaimed, consciously and freely seek the living God and enter the faith and conversion as the Holy Spirit opens their hearts. Through God's help participants will be strengthened spiritually during their preparation then, at the proper time will receive the sacraments fruitfully.
Within the RCIA program, the process of initiation is gradual and takes place within the community of the faithful. The rite of initiation is a spiritual journey, and the experience will vary with each individual according to the many forms of God's grace. The program includes time for inquiry and for taking steps as we move along this spiritual pathway together.
Initial discernment and conversion
A desire to become Catholic
Intense preparation for the sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation
Being welcomed into the order of catechumens, or candidates
The spiritual journey of preparation completed, the catechumens and candidates then receive the Christian Sacrament(s) of Initiation, during the Easter Vigil Mass, on Holy Saturday Evening. The entire Parish community becomes responsible for the initiation of adults interested in the Catholic faith, and St. Paul's offers an outstanding program for the Christian Initiation of Adults.
Note: The word catechumenate means "time of serious study" and prepared inquirers become catechumens (those who have not been baptized), or candidates (baptized Christians who have not yet been confirmed as Roman Catholics).