Christian Initiation

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is a process in which individuals who have reached the age of reason find out more about the Catholic Faith.  It is an ancient process which was used in the early church for individuals who wished to become part of the Catholic Community.  The Rite has been restored to the universal church in the last thirty years.  It is now the proper way for people to understand the Catholic Faith and, if they desire, become members after they acquire an understanding of the Faith.


In the process, individuals learn of the beliefs, practices, and doctrines of the Roman Catholic Faith and they see and experience Catholic living through the community which they wish to enter.  Individuals who join the Catholic Community today possess both the knowledge and the experience of Catholicism before they are initiated into the Church.


This process of understanding the Catholic Faith is not a mere expounding of doctrines and precepts but a training period for the whole of Christian life.  It is the equivalent of an apprenticeship process.

Interested individuals meet in group sessions but the emphasis is on the individuals involved in the process.  Team members (those conducting the process) are constantly aware of the desires and needs of those participating and make every effort possible to meet those personal needs.


Because the RCIA is a personal journey, there is no set length for the process.  Most individuals travel through the process in about a year but some prefer to delay their decision for a while longer, possibly as long as three years.  The rite is adaptable to the needs of the individual.


The RCIA is a welcoming by the Catholic community to individuals who have expressed a desire to examine that community  with the intention of possibly joining it.  These individuals are embraced by the Catholic community and become a vital part of it.  By Church law, a catechumen (one under study) is considered so important that they are entitled to a Catholic marriage or a Catholic funeral even prior to initiation.


Ministries in the RCIA

The primary minister of initiation in the RCIA is the parish community.  The quality of their lives, the concern and interest they show, the manner of worship, the  commitment  to  social action is of primary importance.

Sponsors:  members of the local community who are chosen to accompany the individual through the initial period of conversion.

Godparents:  accompany the individual through the final stage of the RCIA and continue as a companion with the individual throughout life.

Catechists:  have the greatest contact with the individuals meeting with them regularly to share faith, pray the scriptures, and share in the Catholic tradition.

Hospitality:  coordinates and extends the hospitality of the parish community at the various celebrations, parish functions and regular meetings.

Communications:  provides the vital link between the parish community, individuals in the process, sponsors, godparents and team members.

Prayer Partners:  remember participants in the process through the active ministry of prayer. This is an outstanding ministry for individuals who are homebound.

Outreach:  individuals are needed to direct the concrete expressions of charity and service of participants and help them discern how they can best serve the larger community.

Anyone who may be interested in becoming part of this exciting process is invited to call Emily Mulvey, our Director of Faith Formation or e-mail her at to discuss your possible involvement.