WHAT IS RCIA?
The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, or RCIA, is a communal process for formal initiation of new members into the Catholic Church. This process is a return to the formation of the earliest members of the Church in the first and second centuries.
How old are participants in the RCIA program?
RCIA is for adults 18 years of age and older.
Who should enroll in the RCIA program?
If any of the below apply to you, you should consider RCIA:
- You are not Catholic, but want to become Catholic.
- You are 18 years or older and have not received one, any, or all of the Sacraments of Initiation:
- First Communion
- You are not Catholic, but are interested in gaining a deeper understanding about the Catholic Faith.
How long is the process, and when do I receive the sacraments?
RCIA is a two-year journey. You will receive the sacraments at the Easter Vigil Mass.
When are sessions held?
RCIA sessions are held each week from early September to mid-June. Sessions in English take place on Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Sessions in Spanish are held on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
RCIA is a journey. What are the steps along the journey?
Just as Jesus and his disciples were on a journey -- a walk that they took in spreading the Good News of salvation, participants in the RCIA program are on a journey as well. Here is a summary of the "stops" along the journey.
First let’s distinguish between the non-baptized seeking full initiation into the Catholic Church and the baptized seeking to complete their initiation.
The first stage for the non-baptized is the inquiry stage, where something or someone has piqued their interest in the Catholic faith (the same can be said of the baptized being re-introduced into the way of faith).
In the inquiry stage, there is no commitment, rather it is to simply “come and see” as Our Lord called the first disciples.
During the Period of Evangelization and Precatechumenate “the individual comes to some knowledge of Jesus Christ, considers his or her relationship with Jesus Christ, and is usually attracted in some way to the Catholic Church.” (source USCCB)
Once committed to the process of RCIA, the inquirer seeks acceptance into the Order of Catechumens at the Rite of Acceptance, the first of three threshold rites.
“During this Rite, the inquirer stands amidst the parish community and states that he or she wants to become a baptized member of the Catholic Church. The parish assembly affirms this desire and the inquirer becomes a Catechumen.” (source USCCB)
Similarly, baptized candidates will state their commitment to complete the initiation process at the Rite of Welcoming.
At both rituals, which may be combined — Rite of Acceptance and Welcoming — their sponsors, too, commit themselves to accompanying the catechumens and candidates on their journey, and they will demonstrate their commitment through the “signing of the senses.”
When and how do I sign up?
This program begins in September, but anyone who has interest in RCIA can contact us at any time. To enroll in this program, fill out the RCIA Inquiry Form. To access this form, click here.
Who do I contact should I have a question?
Our Director of Formation is eager to answer any question that you might have or to talk to you about the program. You may call Donald Marquez at the Parish Office, (510) 471-2609, or send an e-mail to him at [email protected].