RCIA - Becoming Catholic
What is RCIA?
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the Catholic Church’s way of nurturing the conversions of its future members. RCIA is a process of study, exploration, faith-sharing, and faith formation with specific liturgical rites for seekers and inquirers. Seekers and inquirers are non-baptized adults who desire to be fully initiated into the Roman Catholic Church and/or baptized adult Christians who desire full communion in the Roman Catholic Church.
There is no obligation on the part of those who enter the RCIA process to ultimately become Catholic. Those who participate in the 9-month long program are asked to attend the weekly sessions, attend Mass weekly, participate in the Dismissal Group discussion following the homily, participate in the Rites of Welcome and Election, and to read the adult catechism material that is provided to all involved in the program. Most importantly, all candidates are asked to reflect on:
- God’s call in their lives.
- The stories of God’s love in scripture
- The need of an active prayer life
- The importance of making moral choices
- The basic Catholic beliefs
RCIA at St. Gabriel Catholic Church
- New RCIA groups are formed periodically throughout the year. Groups meet weekly in the Ministry Center. Some meet on Sunday mornings and others on Wednesday evenings.
- For current group meeting times, see the Faith & Spirituality section of Programs & Events webpage.
- Babysitting for participants’ children is available, but reservations must be made by calling 704-362-5047, ext. 210 a week in advance.
- Spouses/friends of those involved in the RCIA program are welcome to attend.
FAQs about RCIA
Answers to frequently asked questions about RCIA can be found here.
Anyone interested in the RCIA program at St. Gabriel Catholic Church may contact the Director of Religious Education, Susan Krasniewski, at 704-362-5047, ext. 210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RCIA is a Journey
The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults is a process that proceeds over weeks and months. It has several steps:
This is the earliest phase in the process; it is also known as the Period of Inquiry. Catechumens and Candidates acknowledge that Christ is calling them into the Church through the movement of the Holy Spirit. This is a time for seeking and reflection.
Rite of Initiation
The first Rite in the RCIA process, the Rite of Initiation accepts new members into the worshipping community.
The longest part of the process, the Catechumenate is a time of learning and formation in the traditions and doctrine of the Catholic Church. This is a time for sharing stories, reading scripture, and studying the Church customs, traditions and doctrine. Participants also participate in worship services and various Church rituals.
Rite of Election
Catechumens and Candidates are chosen to be received by the bishop and the community and to receive the Sacraments of Initiation at Easter.
Sacraments of Initiation
At the Easter Vigil (Holy Saturday), all newly elected members of the community who have been journeying through the RCIA process are welcomed formally into the community of believers through receiving the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation.
This is a time of reflection and celebration after the formal reception into the Catholic Church. Mystagogia means “leading into the mystery” and it is a time to explore the deep mystery of our faith and go forth to help build the reign of God on Earth as new members of the faithful.
People journeying through the RCIA process need sponsors and community support to help them grow in faith. The RCIA team of sponsors help guide, support and instruct those discerning whether to become members of our Catholic community. Team members share their faith with inquiring adults who are seeking more information about the Catholic Church, many of whom seek to celebrate one or more of the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation.