What is RCIA?
The Catholic Church always welcomes new members into its community. The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the present-day process of education, faith sharing and rituals by which people enter into the faith. It is a process in which interested men and women can explore Catholicism, and make a decision to become a Catholic over a period of months. Through this process, a community of inquirers, sponsors and guides come together on a weekly basis to learn about the scriptures and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, and at the same time, discover where God is present in their lives.
Who can apply?
Any adult, 18 years and older, who is unbaptized or a baptized Christian of another faith, may participate in the RCIA process.
Who is R.C.I.A. for?
A lot of people benefit from RCIA.
The RCIA program is open to all adults, even those who are already Catholic that may be seeking a refresher about their faith or just want to learn more as they continue their journey of faith.
RCIA is for those persons who have never been baptized and seek to join the community of believers. These men and women are called "Catechumens."
RCIA is for those who have been baptized in another Christian faith, but are seeking to join the Catholic Church. These men and women are called "Candidates."
RCIA is for those who have been baptized in the Catholic faith but who have never been fully initiated, through the Sacraments of Eucharist/Confirmation. These are also called "Candidates."
Others who participate in RCIA are: Catholic adults who serve as sponsors for the catechumens and candidates. These people have a very important role in helping to nurture and introduce the catechumens and candidates to the Church community by providing support, example and prayer.
What is the process?
The RCIA is a process filled with rites, ceremonies and celebrations. Each phase of the process is ritually celebrated with special prayers and liturgical ceremony in the presence of the worshiping community.
The process begins with several weeks of inquiry and instruction, during which interested individuals can learn the core beliefs of the Catholic church, sacraments and rituals, and basic church history. This is a time when inquirers ask a lot of questions of the RCIA team members and class speakers. After this initial period, participants are asked to affirm their decision to continue the conversion process.
Next is an extended period of weekly classes and other activities designed to involve participants in the church community. This period allows participants the opportunity to examine their commitment to the process through regular attendance at classes, participation in community service events and involvement in other parish activities.
For those committed, the next step is an intense period of prayer and reflection (normally during Lent) leading to the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation (customarily at Easter, or when the participant and sponsor agree that the participant is ready to proceed with the sacraments).
The process is completed in a period of reflection and prayer during which the newly baptized and/or confirmed Catholics can to further their faith formation.
What documents are required for becoming Catholic?
Both baptized Catholics and Christians of another faith will need a copy of their baptismal record. Copies of marriage certificates and decrees of annulment in the Church may be required if appropriate.
When does RCIA meet?
RCIA classes meet every Thursday from 7:30pm to 9:00pm. In the All-Purpose Room at church. Classes begin at the beginning of September and continue until after Easter.
What about attendance?
Regular participation is strongly encouraged at all Thursday meetings, days of prayer and community service events. Attendance is viewed as a commitment to the process.
Does anyone help me?
The RCIA team, made up of Deacon Bruce and other members of our parish community, is always available to help. You will also be asked to choose a sponsor, someone already fully initiated into the Catholic Church, to support and encourage you.
How can I learn more?
Feel free to speak to any of our priests or deacons at any time. You may also contact St. Therese Rectory at (973) 584-8271 or email Deacon Bruce at firstname.lastname@example.org.