RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION FOR ADULTS
The definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch, but also in communion and intimacy,
with Jesus Christ.
The R.C.I.A. is the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and is the process by which:
a person who is not a baptized Christian can become Roman Catholic;
a person who is baptized in another Christian denomination can be received into the Roman Catholic Church; or
a person who was baptized in the Roman Catholic church can complete their initiation through the sacrament of Confirmation.
Faith, moved by divine grace and cultivated by the action of the Church, undergoes a process of maturation.
Catechesis, which is at the service of this growth, is also a gradual activity. Good catechesis is always done in
steps. In the baptismal catechumenate, formation is articulated in four stages: [pre-catechumenate or inquiry,
catechumenate, purification & illumination, and mystagogy]
The R.C.I.A. starts with a period of Inquiry which is a time for sharing the Gospel and the good news of Jesus Christ, better known as pre-catechumenate. During this period you will have experienced the beginnings of faith, begun the practice of prayer and have a sense of the church. You will have time to ask questions and to find out what it means to encounter the living God and you will get more acquainted with the Catholic Church and with Our Lady of the Annunciation's community.
The transition between Pre-catechumenate and the Catechumenate periods is marked by the Rite of Acceptance or Welcome depending on whether or not you are already baptized. The Catechumenate is a time of pastoral formation or apprenticeship. It is a time for learning about the Word of God through Scripture and also about basic teachings of the Church on the sacraments, Church tradition, prayer, the saints, social justice, etc.
The last step of preparation is the period of Purification and Enlightenment and is marked by the Rite of Election, which is celebrated during the first Sunday of Lent. This is a time of spiritual preparation and coincides with the season of Lent, the six weeks before Easter. It is a time of prayer, meditation and preparation for the final rites of initiation and the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion, which take place on the evening of Holy Saturday, during the Easter Vigil.
The final part of the journey within the R.C.I.A. is the 50-day period that is between Easter and the feast of Pentecost. This is known as the period of Mystagogy. It is a time for the newly baptized, the newly welcomed and for all of the faithful to deepen their understanding of the Easter mystery by reflecting on the Gospel and by sharing in the Eucharist (communion).
Although the formal initiation process ends with the Easter Vigil and the period of Mystagogy through to Pentecost, the learning process that you have started with the R.C.I.A. will continue throughout the rest of your life. Your growth and development as a Roman Catholic does not end with Baptism and Confirmation, but continues to broaden and deepen with attendance at Mass, continued prayer and study of Scripture and Catholic Tradition. Think about it this way: if you want to be healthy and fit all of your life, you have to remain active, continue a good diet and embrace a healthy lifestyle all the days of your life. This is as true for the body as it is for the soul; you have to remain active in your practice of spiritual exercises such as prayer, you have to feed your soul with "good food" so attain the Eucharist regularly and nourish it with further study, and lastly embrace a healthy life style that avoids sin and passions of the flesh. But most importantly, remember that you begun this journey, and the Church equips you with whatever is necessary for you to develop a strong and intimate relationship with God, which, like any other relationship, is as vibrant as the amount of attention you give it, how often you spend communicating with the person and how often you visit, so invest the time and effort in the most important relationship you will ever have: yours with Christ.
The prerequisite for making this first step [Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens] is that the beginnings of the spiritual life and the fundamentals of Christian teaching have taken root in the candidates. Thus there must be evidence of the first faith that was conceived during the period of evangelization… there must also be evidence of the first stirrings of repentance, a start to the practice of calling upon God in prayer, a sense of the Church, and some experience of the company and spirit of Christians through contact with a priest or with members of the community.
We invite you to become involved in Our Lady of the Annunciation’s community through various ministries that serve the community and through regular involvement in continued learning opportunities.
Are You Interested in Finding Out More About Our R.C.I.A. Program?
If you are interested in finding out more about our R.C.I.A. program, please fill out the form below and arrange a meeting with our Pastor or please call the parish office at (819) 777-6931 to receive a registration form. We would love to hear from you.