Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
An Entrance into the Catholic FaithAre you interested in learning more about the Catholic Faith? Do you or does someone you know wish to become Catholic? Are you a baptized Catholic but have never been confirmed? Are you curious about some aspects of our faith and tradition? Then the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) might be for you! The RCIA is a process through which adults deepen their relationship with Christ and become fully initiated into the Catholic Church.
A Strong Start in the Faith: The Catholic RCIA Stages
The Catholic RCIA stages are a good model of basic faith development. This article provides some detailed guidance for that process.
So, you’re developing your faith. Great! Is it a little overwhelming?
Where to start?
Why so many “stages” of initiation?
What should I be doing in each stage?
How will I know when I’m ready to move forward?
This article is your best starting point to answer these questions, and more. I’ll provide you with some fundamentals – centered in Christ – for beginning and developing your life of faith in the Roman Catholic Church. Everything else builds on these fundamentals! But…
Where do you begin?Well, you just begin from where you are now! Many adults entering the Catholic Church, or those just thinking about it, follow a process known as the RCIA – the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. The RCIA process has several distinct stages. These Catholic RCIA stages are a good model of faith development itself, so this article will fit you whether or not you’re actually in the RCIA process.
Purification and Preparation
Laying a strong foundation
RCIA stage 1: Just Looking
In the inquiry stage, you’re just finding out about Jesus, Christianity, and the Catholic Church. Your main task here is to explore and develop your faith enough so you can make an informed initial decision about entering the Catholic Church.
The final decision won’t come for a long time, when you actually enter the Church at Easter and receive the sacraments of initiation. The RCIA inquiry stage page has lots of detailed guidance for you during this stage.
Even if you’re past the inquirer stage, you should still read that section to make sure you’ve covered the right ground. You’ll need to rely on that foundation later!
RCIA stage 2: Learning about the Faith
RCIA stage 3: Getting ready for rebirth!
This period of purification and enlightenment is the final stage before receiving the Easter sacraments of initiation into the Church: baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist. (Those already baptized with a valid baptism in another Christian church aren’t baptized again.)
This stage of intense reflection calls you to deeper conversion in preparation for your renewal at Easter. This is what the season of Lent is for, but it has a special intensity for you this year as you’re entering the Church and receiving the sacraments of initiation.
The Church uses three profound and beautiful passages from the Gospel of John to focus this preparation effort.
RCIA stage 4: Reflecting on the mysteries of the Mass
This stage of mystagogy during Easter is for continued reflection on the sacraments you have received at Easter, especially the Eucharist.
Specific catechesis on the Mass, the Sacraments, and especially the Eucharist are the focus of this stage.
The Mass and the Eucharist are the “source and summit” of the Christian life in the Catholic Church, and this period is designed to help you understand, appreciate, and live more deeply this center of Catholicism.