What does the RCIA process entail?
In summary, the RCIA process is divided into four stages, which will be explained more in depth at the introductory class session:
Who is eligible to join RCIA classes?
- Period of Evangelization and Precatechumenate: A time for questions and initial stirrings of conversion to Christ. The period ends with the “Rite of Welcoming and Acceptance” during Mass near the beginning of the liturgical year (early December).
- Period of the Catechumenate: Those inquirers who participated in the Rite of Acceptance are now catechumens (meaning "one being instructed") are taught various Catholic doctrines and traditions in more depth and are strengthened through blessings and other rites. The period ends with the Rite of Sending & Rite of Election on the first Sunday of Lent.
- Period of Purification & Enlightenment: A time for more intense spiritual preparation for the upcoming sacraments. This period coincides with Lent, and the format of RCIA shifts from having classes to participating in rites & scrutinies during the Masses. This period ends on the Easter Vigil with the reception of the sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.
- Period of Mystagogy & the Neophyte Year: A time to unpack the grace and meaning of the sacraments as a new Catholic! Classes are again held rather than participating in the Masses/liturgies. Mystagogy lasts until Pentecost (50 days after Easter), which is when RCIA formally concludes.
Who is eligible to join RCIC classes?
Eligible children include those who are beyond the age of reason (age 7) up until high school seniors. The child must be either:
- Unbaptized adults
- Baptized adults in another Christian faith tradition
- Baptized Catholic adults who never received the later sacraments of First Reconciliation, First Communion, or Confirmation (permission from the bishop is needed).
Is there a fee to attend classes?
No, there is no fee to become a member of the Catholic Church!
Can I bring someone with me to the classes?
RCIA: Yes, each week your godparent/sponsor should attend class with you to help support you on your faith journey throughout the year.
- Baptized in another Christian faith tradition.
- Baptized Catholic but missed First Communion and Confirmation.
RCIC: Yes, your parent, guardian, or godparent/sponsor is encouraged to accompany you to class.
What if I was baptized in another faith tradition but am unable to obtain proof from my previous church?
You will not need to be rebaptized if you were baptized using water and the Trinitarian formula (“I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”). However, you will need to complete an Affidavit of Baptism form, and return it to the director of religious education. Proof of baptism is a prerequisite for receiving any of the subsequent sacraments.
What if I am a non-Catholic individual who was previously divorced and am now interested to join the Catholic Church?
Contact Dcn. John Weist to learn about or begin the annulment process at your earliest convenience as the annulment process can take 12-18 months to complete. You may participate in the RCIA process but will not be able to receive the sacraments until an annulment has been granted. Please visit the diocesan website for an explanation on the annulment process and frequently asked questions.
What if I am a non-Catholic individual, who married my Catholic spouse outside the Catholic Church, and I am now interested to join the Catholic faith?
You will need to make an appointment with the priest or the marriage prep coordinator at your earliest convenience to have your marriage convalidated in the Catholic Church so that you will both be free to receive the sacraments. You may participate in the RCIA process but will not be able to receive the sacraments until your marriage has been convalidated.