What is RCIA?
RCIA is a process for welcoming new members into the Catholic Church. This is for adults who have not been baptized, were baptized in another Christian faith tradition, or were baptized in the Catholic faith, but did not make their first communion.
The RCIA is a process that can be characterized in this way: “[The RCIA] is designed for adults who, after hearing the mystery of Christ proclaimed, consciously and freely seek the living God and enter the way of faith and conversion as the Holy Spirit opens their hearts. By God’s help they will be strengthened spiritually during their preparation and at the proper time will receive the sacraments fruitfully.” [The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults: A Pastoral Commentary, J. Michael McMahon, 19.]
There are four periods that belong to this process:
- Precatechumenate—Inquiry and pondering
- Catechumenate—scripture, faith sharing, catechesis
- Purification/Enlightenment—intense spiritual preparation
- Mystagogia—celebration of the sacraments/Easter season