This process is described in four stages. The first stage is a pre-Catechumenate, or Inquiry stage. In this first stage the one who is inquiring about the faith is known as an inquirer. If after a time of initial inquiring and reflection, someone decides to become a member of the Catholic Church, they may decide to formally enter the RCIA process. From this point on, they become a member of the Catechumenate. Those who choose to become Catechumens receive the Rite of Acceptance. During this stage the faith community prays for and supports the Catechumens as they enter this primary learning phase of the RCIA process during which time they allow the Word of God to invite, instruct, and strengthen them in the ways of the faith.. After much ongoing study, prayer, scripture reading and reflection if the Catechumenate has resolved to enter into the church. The Catechumen would receive the Rite of Election at which the Catechumens ask the bishop to be baptized into the church. This Rite usually takes place at the beginning of Lent. From this point on the Catechumens are referred to as the Elect and enters the final stage of Enlightenment, a time of spiritual preparation that leads the Elect to the Sacrament of Initiation that is often celebrated at the Easter Vigil. Through the Sacrament of Initiation the elect are baptized, confirmed, and then receive the Eucharist for the first time. Mystagogy is the final stage of the RCIA process. It is a period of growth for the new members of the Catholic Church, to help strengthen their faith and learn to apply it their daily life of service.
If a person who has already been baptized in another Christian denomination is interested in becoming a Roman Catholic the one seeking entry is known as Candidate. Candidates go through many of the same periods of growth as the Catechumens. Since they are already baptized, the Candidates enter into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, through a profession of faith in the teachings of the church, and the reception of the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Eucharist.
If you are an unbaptized adult who wishes to learn more about the Catholic faith with the possibility of becoming Catholic, or you are a baptized Christian from another denomination and would like to learn more about and possibly join the Catholic Church, the RCIA process is for you!
If you have relatives or friends who you think might be interested in becoming Catholic; the RCIA process might be for them. If you think people you know might be interested in becoming Catholic give them a copy of this article If they are interested just have them fill out the form below and I will be in contact with them.
May all of us continue to grow in the faith and share it with others. God bless you, Father Bill