The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults or RCIA

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops describes RCIA as a process in which participants "undergo…conversion as they study the Gospel, profess faith in Jesus and the Catholic Church, and receive the sacraments…The RCIA process follows the ancient practice of the Church that was restored by the Second Vatican Council as the normal way adults prepare for baptism." There are two groups of people who participate in this process:

Catechumens: Adults or children 7 and older who have not been baptized and desire to join the Church through all of the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation.

Candidates: Adults or children 7 and older who were baptized in another Christian denomination prepare in a similar way for the sacraments of Confirmation and the Eucharist during their reception into the Catholic Church.

The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults is a journey. It has several steps:

  1. Pre-Catechumenate: This is the earliest phase in the process; it is also known as the Period of Inquiry. Catechumens (unbaptized) and Candidates (Baptized Christians) acknowledge that Christ is calling them into the Catholic Church through the movement of the Holy Spirit. This is a time for seeking and reflection.
  2. Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens: This first Rite in the RCIA process accepts new members into the worshipping community.
  3. Catechumenate: The longest part of the process, the Catechumenate is a time of learning and formation in the traditions and doctrine of the Catholic Church. This is a time for sharing stories, reading scripture, and studying the Church customs, traditions and doctrine.
  4. Rite of Election: Catechumens are chosen to be received by the bishop and the community and to receive the Sacraments of Initiation at Easter.
  5. Sacraments of Initiation: At the Easter Vigil (Holy Saturday), all newly elected members of the community who have been journeying through the RCIA process are welcomed formally into the community of believers through receiving the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.
  6. Mystagogy: This is a time of reflection and celebration after the formal reception into the Catholic Church. Mystagogia means “leading into the mystery” and it is a time to explore the deep mystery of our faith and go forth to help build the reign of God on Earth as new members of the faithful.

RCIA Team helps guide, support and instruct those discerning whether to become members of our Catholic community. Team members share their faith with inquiring adults who are seeking more information about the Catholic Church, many of whom seek to celebrate one or more of the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.

Please contact Mr. Mark Hoggard at 757-583-0291 ext 13 or email at


The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, or RCIA, is a communal process for formal initiation of new members into the Catholic Church. This process is a return to the formation of the earliest members of the Church in the first and second centuries.