RCIA – The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
This is a process by which adults and children seven years old or older are prepared for the initiation sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and First Communion.
Adults of other faith traditions who have been baptized and are wanting to become Catholic as well as adults who were baptized Catholic but have not received other sacraments are encouraged to participate in this process as well.
Inquiry or Pre-Catechumenate
The first period allows the inquirers a period of time to inquire about the faith. As evangelization continues, inquirers are invited to share their stories, ask hard questions about the Church and Christianity, and reflect on the role of God in their lives. This is a time for inquirers to decide whether they wish to continue with the process. It ends with the Rite of Acceptance where the inquirers assemble publicly for the first time during Mass and declare their intentions to the Church. Inquiry is year-round so one can join at any time they are ready.
The catechumenate is an extended period of time during which the catechumens, those to be baptized, or candidates, baptized Christians who have not been confirmed as Roman Catholics, receive pastoral formation and guidance aimed at training them in Christian life. This is the time, in duration corresponding to the progress of the individual, for nurturing and growth of the catechumen’s faith and conversion to God. Both the catechumens and candidates attend Mass during the Liturgy of the Word. After the homily, the priest dismisses the catechumen with a blessing after which they move to a room to continue reflecting on the scriptures that were just read. This study of the deeper meaning of the Word of God is called breaking open the Word. The length of the catechumenate varies according to each individual’s need.
The catechumenate period ends when a catechumen or candidate has a strong conversion and understands what it means to be a Catholic Christian with faith in Jesus. Candidates, those already baptized in a Christian tradition, celebrate the Call to Continuing Conversion on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord with all those throughout the diocese at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral with the Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix. On the first Sunday of Lent, catechumens, now called “The Elect”, travel down to Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral in Phoenix to celebrate the second major rite of the Initiation process, the Rite of Election with other catechumens from the Diocese. These two events are witness to the response of those called by God to the Church.
Purification and Enlightenment
The third period occurs during the Lenten Season. This is a time of intense spiritual preparation centered on conversion which lasts through Lent, preparing the participants for the Sacraments of Initiation. During the celebration of the Mass on the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Sundays of Lent, the Church assembly celebrates the Scrutinies with the elect. This period ends with the celebration of the sacraments of Initiation, the liturgical rite, integrated into the Easter Vigil, by which the elect are initiated through Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist.
For fifty days after Easter, the now neophytes are integrated into the community. They are encouraged to continue their lifelong journey into the Catholic Church and to continue to grow in their faith.
RCIA Adapted for Children
All families with children aged seven and above who wish to become members of the Catholic Church are welcomed into this community process. Families attend together to learn about our faith and discern their particular needs on their spiritual journey.