The RCIA is a process that prepares and initiates people into the Catholic Church through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion. The RCIA is the modern form of the “catechumenate” of the early days of the Church. Becoming Christian in the first five centuries involved a sharp break with the surrounding Roman culture. New Catholic Christians entered into a way of living that demanded deep commitment, often risking their lives to become Christian. In the modern world, our faith also demands deep commitment, as our Catholic beliefs and the beliefs of society are often in tension.
Step One: Meet with an RCIA team member who will help you get started. When you begin the process, there is no obligation on your part. The first meetings are called Inquiry and they provide an opportunity for you to ask questions; to receive the good news of Catholic Christian life, and open the way for spiritual growth.
Step Two: At the Rite of Acceptance, those who are ready may enter into a deeper relationship with the Church and begin their formal preparation for the sacraments of initiation within the Catechumenate.
Step Three: If it is true that we cannot properly love whom we do not know, the Catechumenate, as a period of intensive learning, helps us to come to know Christ more intimately by way of a more systematic and rigorous understanding of the Deposit of Faith.
Step Four: In the days leading up to the celebration of Easter, the members of the Catechumenate will enter into a period of intense preparation. Those who will be received into the Church are immersed in the Church’s prayers and love, so as to further ready themselves for a fruitful reception of the Sacraments of Initiation.
Step Five: The Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation. For the un-baptized, the sacraments are celebrated at the Easter Vigil by the Bishop or his delegate.
Step Six: Mystagogia, which means to reflect upon the mysteries, corresponds to the seven weeks leading up to the great celebration of Pentecost. It is during these weeks that the newly baptized (or neophytes) will take a closer look at the special gifts God has given them in Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist, and see how those will inevitably impact their lives.