In Your Midst
What is the RCIA?
The RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults), also called
the Catechumenate, is a process of initiation into the Catholic Community of
Faith for persons who are experiencing a conversion in their lives and seeking
either Christian baptism in the Catholic Church or full Communion with the
Catholic tradition of Eucharist and Confirmation.
It is a process which enables the study of the Gospels,
Catholic Christian teaching, the acceptance of Christian values and morality,
the development and deepening of a life of prayer and action with the support
and involvement of the local Christian community. The RCIA is more than a course
of instruction. It is a process of conversion, designed to meet the unique and
individual needs of the participants.
Who is RCIA for?
- Non-Catholics who want to find out more about the Catholic Faith
- Those who want to join the Catholic Church through Baptism, or
Profession of Faith
- Those who were baptized Catholic as infants but never received religious
education, Confirmation, or First Eucharist.
Why an RCIA Process? (Wasn't the old Inquiry Class good enough?)
Christians are made, not born. There is nothing automatic or
instant in the Rite of Christian Initiation. The development of faith takes
time; it cannot be rushed. The candidates must be allowed sufficient time for
their faith to ripen. Ordinarily, this means anywhere from one to two years of
formation depending, of course, on the background and spiritual maturity of the
In the past (in fact, hundreds of years ago), a person desiring reception into
the Christian Community studied, prayed, fasted and did good works for three
years. Initiation takes time. Initiation is more than doctrinal instruction. It
is a way of coming to know the traditions, the people, the prayer and the
actions of the community.
Five stages of the RCIA Process
- Inquiry or Pre-Catechumenate
At this time participants are encouraged to ask questions and
explore the basic tenets of the Catholic faith and to reflect upon these in
light of their own life experiences.
- The Catechumenate
It is during this time that most of study of Scripture, doctrine,
traditions and meeting with the community takes place.
- Purification & Enlightenment
For those preparing for baptism, this stage takes place during the
Lenten season where they reflect upon their own faith experiences in a more
intense, prayerful way. Other times during the year, baptized candidates
reflect more deeply upon the meaning of their baptism and celebrate the
Sacrament of Penance.
- Sacraments of Initiation
Candidates for baptism celebrate their initiation into the Church
on the holiest of nights-the Easter Vigil - where they are baptized,
confirmed and receive Eucharist. Candidates for full communion celebrate
their Rite of Reception several other times throughout the year.
This is a time for candidates to reflect upon their experiences of
being new Catholic Christians and find their place in the ordinary life of
Some Common Questions
- Must I make a commitment to Catholicism to participate in this
No! We realize that many people are searching and need to know more
about the Church before they make such a commitment. We also realize that
Catholicism is not for everyone. We ask no firm commitment until the
beginning of Lent.
- I was baptized a Methodist, Baptist, etc.
Must I be re-baptized in order to join the Catholic Church?
No! There is only one Baptism. Candidates seeking full Communion
within the Catholic Church will not be baptized again. They will simply make
a Profession of Faith and receive the Sacraments of Eucharist and
Confirmation. Click here to read more about the Rites of Initiation for baptized and
- What steps do I need to take to begin the process of Inquiry?
Contact the Faith Formation
Department for information
regarding registration, dates and places.
Back to RCIA home page
804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98104
Phone 206.622.3559 Fax 206.622.5303