What is RCIA

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults

Are you thinking of joining the Roman Catholic Church? Where do you begin?  You begin from where you are now!  Adults entering the Catholic Church, or those just thinking about it, follow a process known as the RCIA – the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.  The RCIA process has several distinct stages. During this process, you, along with other inquirers, will meet with Deacon Leo Donoghue and our team as you experience each of the following:

  • Inquiry is the initial period before you decide to enter the Catholic Church. Your main task here is to explore and develop your faith enough so you can make an informed initial decision about entering the Catholic Church. The final decision won’t come for a long time, when you actually enter the Church at Easter and receive the sacraments of initiation.
  • Catechumenate is the next stage.  This is for those who decide to enter the Church and are being trained for a life in Christ.  They are called catechumens, an ancient name from the early Church. In this stage, you’re developing your faith and are being “catechized”- learning about the faith, how to live as a Christian, and developing your interior life.
  • Purification and preparation: In this stage, the Church will help you focus and intensify your faith as you prepare to commit your life to Christ.  This stage of intense reflection calls you to deeper conversion in preparation for your renewal at Easter. This is what the season of Lent is for, but it has a special intensity for you as you’re entering the Church and receiving the sacraments of initiation.
  • Initiation itself is the culmination of the whole process! You’re received into the Church during the Easter Vigil Mass, where you’ll receive the sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. If you’ve already been baptized, you won’t be baptized again.
  • Mystagogy takes place after reception into the Church at Easter.  This period lets you reflect on the mysteries of the Mass and the Sacraments that you now participate in fully.  The Mass and the Eucharist are the “source and summit” of the Christian life in the Catholic Church, and this period is designed to help you understand, appreciate, and live more deeply this center of Catholicism.

Welcome to your faith journey!  Faith will be the foundation of your life. The next step will be to contact our parish RCIA coordinator, Deacon Leo Donoghue at deaconleo@comcast.net.  Deacon Leo and our team are happy to help you move ahead in your desire to become a full member of the Catholic Church.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to go through the RCIA process?  This depends on how ready you are to begin! Generally, the Catechumenate begins in the fall, but this is determined by your own readiness.

Is there a fee for going through this process?  There is no fee for this process.

Is RCIA like taking a course?  No. The RCIA is a process of faith formation, catechesis (teaching of the faith), and spiritual growth. While reading/resources will be suggested and recommended, there are no requirements like one might have when taking a formal course.

What if I have to miss some sessions because of family or work commitments or travel?  No worries. We understand these conflicts. We will make sure that you receive missed handouts and that one of the catechists or other facilitators can be available to you to answer questions and talk about the session that you missed.

I heard that I need a sponsor in order to become Catholic.  What is that and how do I get one?
A sponsor is a practicing Catholic in good standing with the Church who accompanies you on your journey through RCIA.  The sponsor helps you through the process and verifies at the main rites that you are ready to take the next step.

Do I need to find my own sponsor?
No. If needed, one of our team will be provided for  you. Of course, if you know a person who meets these requirements, feel free to ask that individual to participate in the RCIA process with you.


The Catholic Church is unlike any other organization on earth. In fact, it is more accurate to call the Church an “organism” – a living body: Christ’s body.

Why become Catholic?

To become Catholic is to become part of His body – a process that begins with Baptism and continues forever. Being Catholic in today’s world provides great challenges and opportunities for personal growth and self-awareness, and also a solid foundation for a life of community and relationship with God.

Eight Good Reasons to Become Catholic

Here are eight great reasons to be Catholic, selected from the web site AmericanCatholic.org:

1. An optimistic view of creation
2. A universal vision
3. A holistic outlook
4. Personal growth
5. Social transformation
6. A communal spirit
7. A profound sense of history
8. A respect for human knowledge

Take a moment to read more in-depth information about these eight reasons on the American Catholic website.  Click here to read on.

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