Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
Every year the Catholic Church welcomes thousands of new members through a process known as RCIA. The letters stand for Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, and through the RCIA, interested men, women, and children come to know the presence of God in their lives.
The RCIA is a process offered to those who would like to become fully initiated into the life of the Catholic Church through the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. It is a step-by-step process of learning about the Catholic faith and of opening oneself to friendship with Christ within the context of the parish life.
During the weeks of instruction and preparation that are part of the RCIA process, the parish family supports their entry into the Church, prays for them, and helps them understand Catholic prayer, worship, beliefs and activities.
Participants of RCIA must be non-Catholics or baptized Catholics who have not received First Communion and Confirmation. They fully commit themselves to attending weekly sessions, weekly bible reflections, and days of recollection with fellow participants.
I am interested!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I need a sponsor? If so, who can be my sponsor?
Yes, every individual going through the RCIA program will be required to have a sponsor.
To be a sponsor, you must:
• Be a practicing Roman Catholic who attends Mass regularly (Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation) and is living according to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
• Be fully initiated themselves, having received Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.
• Be at least 16 years of age; be mature enough to undertake this responsibility and have the intention of fulfilling the role to the best of your ability.
• Live a life of faith which befits the role and inspire others by your personal witness and practice of the faith.
2. Does my sponsor have to come to class with me?
Sponsors are encouraged to come to the weekly classes with you, but we understand if they are unable to make every session. However, sponsors should make a point to discuss material covered in class throughout the week.
3. I have been baptized in another Christian faith, will I be baptized again?
No. The Catholic Church recognizes baptisms from other Christian communities as valid, as long as they are as Christ instructed: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”, with flowing water. If you are unsure if your baptism is valid, contact the church where you were baptized for clarification.
4. Why am I not able to receive communion?
The Church teaches that you have to be in communion in order to receive communion. Being in communion means that you are in friendship with God and His church. In other words, you need to be without grave sin, and you must have professed your adherence to the Catholic Church; its teachings and its authority.
5. If I join the class, do I have to become Catholic?
No. Everyone’s faith journey looks different. You may not be ready to join the church when all of our sessions are completed, and that’s okay. You are more than welcome to continue with us for as long as you would like.
6. When do I go to confession?
If you are validly baptized, you will be required to go to confession before your initiation at the Easter Vigil. If you are not baptized, you are not required to go to confession until after the Easter Vigil. In both cases, you must go to confession after the Easter Vigil as needed before receiving communion.
7. How do I know when I am ready to be Catholic?
This is a great and tough question, because the personal answer varies. In general, you know you are ready to be Catholic when you have adhered to the beliefs, teachings, and authority of the church. Becoming Catholic is not about joining a club, but about serving, tithing, engaging, praying, participating in sacraments, and sharing our faith with others. When you desire to do these things, then you are ready to ask the Holy Spirit for the gifts to do God’s work in your world.
8. Once I become Catholic, then what?
After the Easter Vigil, we will have several more sessions to help you in your next steps. The RCIA is not just about gaining knowledge, but growing in relationship with God and His Church! Involvement in parish life is essential to your faith journey. Statistically, 75% of new Catholics leave within first year of their initiation. Make a plan for how you will stay connected, and we will be here each step of the way.