What Is The RCIA?

The RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) is the process by which people become full members of the Roman Catholic Church. Full membership in the Catholic Church involves a total formation process, which includes the sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. It involves the journey of faith and conversion in which a person is introduced to the beliefs, life, liturgy and apostolic work of the Catholic Community. It also involves coming to know Jesus and His invitation to discipleship.

Who Is RCIA For?

The RCIA is designed primarily for those desiring Baptism. Since baptized Christians from other denominations may be seeking membership in the Catholic Church, the RCIA process is adapted to their needs as well.

What Happens In The RCIA Process?

The process of full initiation into the Catholic Church has five stages. Beginning with the Period of Inquiry. This is a time for questions, finding out more about the Church and the life of faith. Normally it lasts for 3-5 weeks, but may be extended as long as an individual desires. Not all inquirers decide to enter the Church and complete their initiation. This is entirely up to the individual.

The Period of Catechumenate follows. Candidates for initiation will use this time to deepen in the life of faith and discovery of the power of God’s love for them. It is a time to listen and reflect on the gospel of Jesus in the light of one’s own life history.

Full Initiation into the Catholic Church takes place at the Easter Vigil Mass through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. Christians of other denominations are also received into full communion with the Catholic Church at this time.

The last stage is Mystagogia, a time of 50 days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost when the new Church members become better integrated into the community of faith, reflect further on their understanding of the Easter sacraments and discover how they can participate in the apostolate of the Church into which they have been newly welcomed. This final period reminds the newly initiated that the initiation process is just that: initiation, not graduation, and means commitment to a lifelong journey of conversion.

Ministry To The Baptized

In an effort to minister to many different people, and individual faith journeys, St. Tom’s has initiated something new within the RCIA process which we call Ministry to the Baptized. We recognize that not all who seek to become members of our Catholic tradition or to complete their initiation require full participation in our Catechumenate process. Therefore, we have developed a process available to those who are already baptized as Christians and have had a significant level of involvement in the church, as well as religious instruction and spiritual formation.

Respectful of individual needs. This process leads those not yet Catholic to reception into Full Communion with the Catholic Church through a Profession of Faith, Confirmation, and First Eucharist. An initial interview is essential to help discern which process is appropriate for each individual.

How Long Does RCIA Take?

The RCIA process at St. Thomas Aquinas Center is geared toward the Purdue community. Sessions are held weekly beginning the first week of September.

Catechumen (those not baptized) will be fully initiated into the community at the Easter Vigil after participating in the RCIA process for at least one academic year.

Participants in Ministry to the Baptized will be received into full communion with the Church after completing their formation.

What About Bringing A Friend Or A “Sponsor”?

Each participant will have a sponsor to walk with him/her through each step of the process. You may choose your own sponsor with our approval, or we will provide you with a community sponsor. The sponsor must be at least 16 years of age, a confirmed, practicing Catholic, and not a parent.

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