The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is a process of initiation into the fullness of the sacramental life of the Church.
What is RCIA?
RCIA is a journey. The culmination of the journey is a sharing in the Eucharist. There are many paths to the Lord's Table. Each journey is unique.
Who participates in the process?
Those who are not yet Christians
For those who are not yet baptized, the RCIA journey begins with a period of inquiry and reflection. For many, the period of inquiry leads to a process of conversion marked by liturgical rites and milestones. Inquirers can gradually become catechumens, members of the elect, and ultimately, fully-initiated members of Christ's Body, the Church.
Baptized Christians who have not yet heard the message of Christ
For many, the journey of Christian initiation begins early in life. Infants and small children who are baptized with water and consecrated to the Trinity are reborn in the saving waters of Baptism. Baptism opens the door to a life in Christ, but in some cases, baptized Christians (Catholic and Non-Catholic) are raised away from the Church, and they fail to learn and experience the Christian faith. The RCIA process allows these individuals to be formed in faith and to complete their Christian initiation.
Baptized Christians who were raised in Non-Catholic churches
Validly baptized, practicing Christians are presumably well-formed in their Christian faith. They are brothers and sisters in Christ who are in partial communion with the Catholic Church. In order to be received into full communion, they may participate in portions of the RCIA process which provide instruction on Catholic teachings, practices, and traditions. Once these individuals are prepared and willing to make a profession of faith, they may participate in the Rite of Reception and receive the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does RCIA correspond with the school year?
No. Christ Our King is moving towards offering RCIA year-round. If you're interested in beginning the process, please contact Brian Justice for more information.
How lengthy is the RCIA process?
The length of the process varies. Everyone comes to RCIA with different backgrounds and needs. In general, for those with little exposure to the Christian faith, the RCIA process lasts a year. Those who have been validly baptized and raised in the Christian faith may have a process that lasts several months.
Is there an RCIA process for children?
Yes. RCIA can be adapted for children over the age of 7. Please contact Brian Justice for more information.
What if I have no record of my baptism?
Most churches have baptismal records on file. Churches that close usually transfer records. Christ Our King can help to locate baptismal records.
Does the Catholic Church consider my baptism to be valid?
For a list of denominations with valid Christian baptisms, click here.
What does it mean to be in full communion with the Catholic Church?
"Communion" means "union with." To have union with the Catholic Church is to believe and profess what the Church believes, teaches, and proclaims. Those who are baptized in the Catholic Church are received into full communion at the time of their baptism. Those who are baptized outside the visible communion of the Catholic Church may be received into full communion within a special rite, known as the Rite of Reception. To be in full communion with the Church is to be able to participate fully in the sacramental life of the Church.
What are the sacraments of Christian initiation?
Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.
What does it mean to be a convert?
A convert is a previously unbaptized person who becomes a Christian through the RCIA process. A person baptized outside the Catholic Church, who is later received into full communion, is not considered to be a convert, since he/she was already a Christian prior to becoming Catholic.
Is RCIA a class?
No. RCIA is a process. It involves spiritual discernment, faith formation, scripture study, discussion of Catholic beliefs and morality, and participation in parish liturgies and activities.
Can a person be baptized twice?
No. If a person is validly baptized with flowing water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, he/she is a Christian -- the effect of the sacrament is permanent, and the sacrament can not be repeated. If a person's baptism is determined to be invalid, he/she may be validly baptized for the first time at the culmination of the RCIA process.
Must the Rite of Reception take place at the Easter Vigil?