A Strong Start in the Faith:  The Catholic RCIA Process 

 

So, you're developing your faith.  Great!  Is it a little overwhelming?  You may be asking yourself:  Where do I start?  Why are there so many stages of initiation?  What should I be doing in each stage?  How will I know when I'm ready to move forward?

The process of joining the Roman Catholic Church is known as the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).  Each year, adults seeking to join the Roman Catholic Church receive weekly support, encouragement and assistance from the RCIA team as well as from parish companions, Sunday catechists and guest speakers.  The entire process can take up to two years.

The RCIA process has four distinct stages, as follows:

Stage 1 - Just Looking - Inquiry Stage

In the inquiry stage, you're just finding out about Jesus, Christianity and 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 may not come for a long time, when you actually attend the Church Service at Easter and receive the sacraments of initiation into the Church.

Stage 2 - Learning About the Faith - Catechesis

In the catechumenate, your faith has begun to develop.  Now you need to learn and grow more.  Those who decide to enter the Church and are being trained for a life in Christ are called catechumens, an ancient name from the early Church.  In this stage you are developing your faith and are being "catechized".  You are  learning the catechism; you are learning the basic points about Catholic faith and life.  You are developing your interior life.  Your job now is to come into closer contact with the living God and learn more about the Catholic Faith.

Stage 3 - Getting Ready for Rebirth - Purification and Enlightenment

The period of purification and enlightenment is the final stage before receiving the Easter sacraments of intiation into the Church:  Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.  Please note that those baptized with a valid Baptism in another Christian Church are not Baptized again.  This stage of intense reflection calls you to deeper conversion in preparation for your renewal Easter.  This is what the season of Lent is for, but it has a special intensity for you this year as you're entering the Church and receiving the sacraments of initiation.  The Church uses three profound and beautiful passages from the Gospel of John to focus this preparation effort.

Stage 4 - Reflecting on the Mysteries of the Mass - Mystagogy

This stage of mystagogy during Easter is for continued reflection of the sacraments you have received at Easter, especially at the Eucharist. Specific catechesis on the Mass, the Sacraments and especially the Eucharist are the focus of this stage.  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 in this centre of Catholicism.

 

If you're ready to start your journey to becoming a Catholic, we would love to be the ones to walk with you along this path.  Simply call the Parish Office at (807) 475-7489 to register.  

If you still have questions about the process and would like to speak with someone, please contact the Parish Office at 807-475-7489 and our facilitator will call you.

© 2015 St. Agnes Parish

St. Agnes Parish
1019 Brown Street Thunder Bay, ON
P7E 2L7

P | 807 475.7489
Office Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 9:00 am until 4:00 pm   F | 807 577.8820
E | st.agnes@shaw.ca

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