RCIA - The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults

Welcome to the RCIA page of St. Julie’s website. If you have clicked your way over to this page chances are you or someone you know is interested in finding out more about becoming Catholic or receiving a few more sacraments, like Holy Communion or Confirmation.

Saint Julie’s Parish takes a team approach to the RCIA process. Our RCIA team consists of a director and several men and women, who through a largely conversational format, welcome your questions and share their stories and commitment to Christ and our parish.

The stages or periods of the Catholic RCIA process are a good model for basic faith learning and faith development designed with the adult learner in mind. As a matter of fact, the RCIA is a very good model for adult learning for the entire parish.

Where do I begin? What exactly do we mean by stages? How long does each stage in the RCIA process take? How will I know when it is time to move to the next stage? These are good questions to be asking!

Let’s begin at the beginning. Many adults who are preparing to enter the Catholic Church, or are just thinking about it, follow a process called the RCIA. As you continue to read you will become better acquainted with the steps and stages of the RCIA process. Each of the steps help interested adults learn more about the Catholic faith, begin to develop a faith life, and help to decide if they would like to join the Catholic faith.

The Inquiry stage is the period in the RCIA process that comes before you decide to enter the Catholic Church. You are asking questions (questions are welcomed in all of the stages). You’re checking it out, but you aren’t ready to commit. The amount of time a person spends in the inquiry stage is largely up to them.

The Catechumenate is the next stage in the RCIA process. Once a someone decides to enter the Church they begin to learn about living a life committed to Christ. We speak of people is this stage of the RCIA process as catechumens. This is an ancient name from the early church. It simply means that you are being “catechized” – learning the catechism or the basic teachings about Catholic faith and life.

Purification and Enlightenment is the name given to the next stage in the RCIA process. This stage generally coincides with the season of Lent, which takes place during the six weeks before Easter. This is a time of focused preparation and commitment to Christ using a series of Gospel based meditations. This stages leads up to the time when you will be received into the church at Easter.

Initiation is the high point of the RCIA process. This is the time when those who have been following the RCIA process are received into the church at the Easter Vigil Mass. This is when the RCIA catechumens and candidates receive the sacraments of initiation: baptism, confirmation and Eucharist. (If you are already baptized, you won’t be baptized again).

Mystagogy is the final stage of the RCIA process. This stage is a period for reflection on the mysteries of the Catholic faith. After reception into the Church at Easter, this period provides you with an opportunity to reflect and learn more about the mysteries of our faith, which you now fully participate in, like the Mass and the sacraments. Mystagogy will help you to celebrate these moments more fully as you gain an even deeper understanding of the Catholic faith and practices.

For more information about the RCIA process speak to our priest or deacon, or contact Paula Raposo paula@saintjulies.org or 508.993.2351, ext. 109.