The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is a process for those desiring full initiation into the Roman Catholic Church. It applies to those who are not baptized, are baptized in another religion, or are baptized Catholics but have not been fully initiated. The process seeks understanding of the faith, conversion to Christ, and initiation into the Church and the community. The process consists of various stages that include prayer, teaching, fellowship and worship, all of which culminate with the pinnacle of the process, the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism if not already baptized, Confirmation and Eucharist). After the person received the Sacraments of Initiation, they continue in the process to get involved into the life and community of the church and to deepen a life in Christ. The Christian Initiation process keeps in mind the age of the person becoming Catholic by offering three processes: RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation) for adults, RCIT for teens, and RCIC for children.
Would you marry a stranger? The reason why you don't just immediately join the Church is the same reason why you wouldn't run out and marry someone you really didn't know. The processes of becoming Catholic and getting married are lifelong commitments that require serious thought, prayer and discernment. Actually, the Christian Initiation Process is somewhat analogous to the process of getting married. For example, picture Tim and Tracy meeting for the first time. They sense a mutual interest and set out to become better acquainted. Tim and Tracy decide to date for a while, learning more about the other and growing closer in friendship. Soon the relationship becomes more serious, a bond of love is cultivated and commitment to the other is fostered. As their love grows, Tim decides to ask Tracy's father for her hand in marriage. If Tim receives her father's consent, then he proposes to Tracy. If she accepts, then they are engaged. This is an exciting yet anxious time for both. They are fairly confident in their desire to enter into a lifelong commitment of love while learning much more about each other and preparing themselves for marriage. During this time Tim and Tracy may question whether they are making the right decision. This is a natural and important thing to do. If Tim and Tracy are ready to commit, then they freely gives themselves to each other, for life, in a covenant of love.
Getting to know you... Getting to know all about you. The Christian Initiation process is much like the processof getting married. First you come and see what the Catholic Church is all about, you "go on a few dates." This is the Inquiry phase. You ask questions, learn the basics, and get to know the Church Better. Then, once you are more interested, you go a little deeper, continuing to learn more and grow closer to Christ and the Church; you "date more seriously." This is the Catechumenate phase. Once you are pretty sure you want to join the Catholic Church, we have the Rite of Election. This is where we go to the Archdiocese, meet the Archbishop and, so to speak, ask for the Church's hand in marriage. The Archbishop gives his blessing and then you are engaged to Christ and the Church. The process continues with reflection and preparation for the "wedding day," the Easter Vigil. This is the day you are wed to Christ and his Church through receiving the Sacraments of Initiation, Baptism (if not already baptized), Confirmation, and First Communion.
"I do! I Think!?!" Just like marriage, joining the Catholic Church is not a small decision; you are not joining a club. The process of dating and engagement is important for a healthy, happy marriage, just as the Christian Initiation process is crucial for a healthy, happy relationship with Jesus and His Church. We take the time to prepare you for this decision out of respect for Jesus Christ and out of respect for you!