How to Become a Catholic (R.C.I.A.)

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (abbreviated: R.C.I.A.) is the way that the Catholic Church helps people prepare for life as an adult Catholic.

  • Do you have questions about the Catholic Faith and are not Catholic?
  • Are you a Christian who wants to learn more about Catholicism?
  • Has God been calling you to consider Catholic Christian faith?
  • Are you an adult Catholic who has never received First Holy Communion?

If you answer yes to any of these questions... please join us!

To start: call Sidney at (916) 482-8883 to make an appointment.

Please Note: You do not need to have decided to become Catholic to begin the first part of RCIA, which is called Inquiry!

So….you have been thinking about becoming Catholic!  This is a major decision in your life and we would be very pleased to invite you to take the next step – the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the Church’s ritual process by which adults prepare their hearts and minds for full participation in the life of the Church through the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.  During their journey, the adults participate in weekly classes to instruct them in the Catholic faith.  They also participate in liturgical rites (public ceremonies) that mark their journey and progress, but also bestows upon them God’s grace.

The RCIA is a journey and it takes time to properly form an adult in the Catholic way of life.  The RCIA strives to form mature Christians who have learned about the faith; are rooted in prayer; are discerning God’s call on their choice to become Catholic; have God at the center of their lives; are engaged with the community and are formed as disciples of Jesus Christ.

RCIA is primarily intended for unbaptized adults (Catechumens) who will be preparing for the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.  However, adults who are already baptized in a non-Catholic tradition (Candidates) and desire to become Catholic will be prepared to make a profession of faith and welcomed into full communion with the Catholic Church by celebrating the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.

The process of becoming a Catholic Christian is rooted in the transformation of the person away from sin and toward a life with Jesus Christ.  This conversion takes time, instruction, mentoring and prayer.  Every person is treated as an individual and their journey is respected, no matter how long it may take.  Each stage of the spiritual journey is marked by one of the rites that acknowledges their progress and bestows grace for continuing the journey.

Period of the Catechumentate is the time of instruction where all elements of the Catholic faith are presented and discussed.  This is the longest period of formation which will begin in our parish in September.  Catechumens and Candidates begin to explore the values, beliefs, prayer life, and the mission of the Catholic Church.  In addition to the weekly instructional classes, the RCIA Catechumens and Candidates will attend Sunday services to listen to the Word of God and pray with the parish community.  After the homily, the RCIA participants are called to the foot of the altar where the priest will pray over them as they are dismissed from the assembly to “feed upon the Word of God” and reflect upon the readings and homily.  They depart from the community because they are not yet able to participate in the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  The community prays for the day that Catechumens and Candidates will join us at the Eucharistic feast.

Period of Purification and Enlightenment coincides with the Lenten season and is the time when the Catechumens are formally called by the Church to the sacraments of initiation.  The Rite of Election marks this milestone in the journey and after celebrating this rite, the Catechumens are now called the Elect – those who have been elected by God to celebrate the sacraments of initiation.  We also recognize the growth and continued formation of the Candidates.

The sacraments of initiation are celebrated at the Easter Vigil – the night before Easter Sunday – the holiest day in the life of every Christian.  The liturgy of the Easter Vigil is apropos to welcoming new members.  On this night, we commemorate salvation history which culminates in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  Through his dying and rising, Jesus has destroyed the chains of sin and death and opened for us a new and eternal life with the Trinity.  The Elect are invited into the saving waters of Baptism; then join the Candidates who sealed with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of Confirmation; and receive the sacred Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.  O, what a night!

Period of Mystagogy continues to form the neophytes (new life), formerly called the Elect.  During this time they will reflect on the sacraments they just celebrated and the transformation that those sacraments have had on their lives.  This is time is the gentle weaning from the RCIA community into the life of the parish and full discipleship.

If you have any questions or are interested in speaking to someone about the RCIA, please contact Sidney Curry 916.482.8883 or  Presentation welcomes your inquiry and prays for your discernment as you consider becoming a Catholic Christian.


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RCIA Bible or Catechism Donation