RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults)|
Are you or someone you know interested in learning more about the Catholic
Are you a Catholic who has not received First Eucharist and /or
Confirmation, or do you know someone who is a Catholic but has not received
Are you a member of St. Raphael’s Church and willing to serve as a Sponsor
for candidates preparing to be initiated into our faith?
What is the RCIA? In general, the RCIA is a process of conversion. It
is divided into four continuous phases that correspond to the candidate’s
progress in Christian formation. Every year thousands of adults are welcomed
into the Roman Catholic Church through the RCIA process.
The RCIA is a series of instructions, faith development and rituals designed
to help adults and older children become full members of the Catholic Church.
The following outlines the underlying principles of the RCIA and presents the
specific structure and phases of the Rite.
The Six Principles of the RCIA:
1. The RCIA is first and foremost a faith journey process. RCIA is for
and about people whose faith journey cannot be programmed because programs as
such do not cause conversion; only God brings about conversion.
2. The RCIA is a community event. The initiation of adults is about
the Christian community initiating new members into itself, and therefore it
must take place in community. It is never a private process. The RCIA sees the
Church as community, as us, and it also sees us as the primary ministers of the
3. The RCIA ministry is basically one of witness and hospitality. The
document is particularly strong in this respect when it says: "...the Initiation
of adults is the concern and business of all the baptized" (RCIA, #41). Although
the RCIA involves many parishioners in various ministries (sponsors, catechists,
prayers, spiritual advisors, etc.) everyone in St. Raphael’s Community is
responsible for ministering to the prospective converts by the witness of their
lives and the openness of their attitudes.
4. The RCIA is ongoing and multi-dimensional. The process of
conversion takes time. For this reason there is nothing instant about RCIA. The
commitment to gospel values and perspectives is a personal journey which is
never accomplished by an educational program alone. Doctrinal instruction as
well as spiritual formation is included in the RCIA.
5. The RCIA restores the baptismal focus of Lent, and reinstates the
Easter Vigil as the honoured time of initiation. This means that the whole
initiation process centers on the candidates’ gradual incorporation into the
Paschal Mystery — the mystery of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. The
sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist celebrate in one
symbolic action, one’s initiation into that mystery.
6. The RCIA is a step-by-step journey highlighted with corresponding
rituals. The document sees the process of initiation divided into four basic
steps. Between each of the steps, the community celebrates a special ritual
which brings closure to the preceding period and moves the candidates into the
The Four Steps of RCIA:
1. STEP ONE: The pre-catechumenate is a preliminary step in the
journey of faith. It is a time for inquirers to hear the Word and it is a time
for community members to listen to the inquirers and answer their questions.
When the inquirers are ready to proceed to the next phase, the catechumenate, a
ritual called the "Rite of Entrance to the Catechumenate" takes place, during
the Sunday Mass, so that the community can welcome the inquirers to the second
step of their journey of faith.
2. STEP TWO: The catechumenate phase involves joining with sponsors
from the parish community who serve as guides, companions and models of faith
for them. Sponsors commit themselves to being a vital link between the
catechumens and the community. They present the candidates to the Church and
also represent the Church to the candidate throughout the RCIA process. This
step is often the longest period in the RCIA, timing is determined by the needs
of the catechumen, and by the community. The catechumens are invited to worship
with the community they are dismissed after the Liturgy of the Word with their
catechists to ponder the Scripture readings they have just heard. When the
catechumens are ready to respond totally to God’s call to faith through the
Sacraments of Initiation, the RCIA provides a ritual, the Rite of Election, to
mark this step in the conversion process. This Rite takes place on the first
Sunday of Lent. The ritual provides an opportunity for the catechumens to
officially request entrance to the Church through the Easter Sacraments of
Initiation, and for the community to respond to that request by saying, "We
confirm God’s call to faith in your life, and will welcome you into the Church
3. THE THIRD STEP: Beginning with the first Sunday of Lent, the
catechumens enter into a deepening awareness of God’s grace through prayer.
During this time the Church also celebrates other rituals with the catechumens,
called "Scrutinies." These are prayers of healing prayed by the community (on
the third, fourth, and fifth Sundays of Lent) that the catechumens will have the
strength as they journey toward initiation and growth in faith. Finally the
night of the Easter Vigil arrives — at which the Sacraments of Initiation are
celebrated and the catechumens are made one with the Body of Christ called
Church. The community says, Now you belong, come, you are welcome at the Table
of the Lord."
4. THE FOURTH STEP: The concluding part of the journey to faith is
called the "Mystagogia", which comes from the word, mystery. In the early Church
it was the time when the community explained the mystery of the sacraments the
catechumens had experienced. Today, this step is seen more as time for the newly
initiated and the community to move forward together toward a closer
relationship with each other and toward a deeper understanding of God’s Word, of
the sacraments, and of everyday Christian life. The RCIA place this step during
the Easter Season (the 50 days between Easter and Pentecost). In reality, this
step in the journey continues for the rest of the Christian’s life along with
the entire community of the faithful.
If you have a loved one or a friend who is considering becoming a member of
the Catholic Church, please contact us for more information.
We offer this ministry to support, encourage, and lead people who are
interested in becoming Catholics. The ministry assists in the development of the
candidates’ faith, and in so doing we walk together with them along this
This ministry has been established since 1983 and is served by approximately
Meetings: Scheduled once a week on Wednesday evenings from October to April.
Contact Person: Fr. Francis Salasiar 905-637-2346.