Are you interested in becoming Catholic? Do you know someone who is? Please contact Kevin McCarthy at [email protected] for more information.
Becoming Catholic means a fundamental reorientation of one's life toward Jesus Christ within the context of Catholic belief and practice. Today, the Catholic Church uses a process called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, or RCIA for short, to welcome adult newcomers into the community.
What is the RCIA?
The RCIA stands for Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. The RCIA, as it is today, was implemented in the 1980s, but it is based on the ancient practices of the early Church. The goal of the RCIA is to foster a profound encounter with the Risen Christ through reflection on the Scriptures, prayer, study, fellowship, and worship with the community.
Who can join the RCIA?
The RCIA is open for anyone who would like to explore the possibility of becoming Catholic.
When does the RCIA start?
The RCIA process goes year-round. We offer inquiry groups for newcomers three times a year - in the fall, in January, and after Easter. You can start at any of these times, and you proceed at your own pace through the RCIA process.
How long does the RCIA take?
The RCIA can take anywhere from a few months to several years, depending on the participant’s background.
What if I am already baptized?
If you are already baptized in another Christian tradition, the Catholic Church recognizes you as a Christian. The goal of the process then is to help you experience Christ more fully in the context of the Catholic Church.
What if I have been a practicing Christian for many years?
If you are already an experienced Christian, the preparation might be relatively short, possibly taking just a few months. Our goal, in this case, will be to help you explore how the Catholic tradition is different from the one you know, and also to help you experience the unique character of Catholic worship and spiritual life. If you are from a Christian tradition that is quite different from the Catholic Church, the preparation time will take longer.
What if I am a baptized Christian, but I have not really practiced my faith?
If you are a baptized Christian who has not developed a faith life in another Christian tradition, the preparation time will be more extensive, possibly a year or more.
What if I am not baptized?
If you are not baptized, RCIA is here to prepare you for baptism through a four-stage process, which takes at least a year, but sometimes longer. Through this process, you are invited to develop an ever-deeper relationship with Christ through the Scriptures and the worship life of the Church, establish a consistent prayer life, and become familiar with the basic teachings and practices of the Catholic Church.
When will I be received into the Church?
The baptism of adults takes place once a year, at the Easter Vigil in the spring. The reception of those who are already baptized can happen at any time, but is often done at the Easter Vigil. As each opportunity approaches, the RCIA team will help you to discern if you are ready, on the basis of the length of your participation in the process, the extent of your preparation, and your personal sense of how deeply you have encountered Christ through your experience of the Catholic Church.
What if I prepare for many months but still don’t feel ready?
The RCIA process is an invitation to explore the Catholic faith and experience Catholic life. We do not pressure anyone to become Catholic. Your journey within the RCIA process may take years. We encourage you to take as long as you need.