The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process has several distinct stages. These Catholic RCIA stages are a good model of faith development itself, so this article will fit you whether or not you're actually in the RCIA process.
- Inquiry: Whether you are unbaptized, or coming from another Christian faith tradition, the initial period before you decide to enter the Catholic Church, is Inquiry. You're asking questions and checking it out, but aren't yet ready to commit.
- Catechumenate: those who decide to enter the Church and are being trained for a life in Christ are called catechumens, an ancient name from the early Church. In this stage, you're developing your faith and are being "catechized" — learning the basic points about Catholic faith and life.
- Purification and preparation: The Church will help you focus and intensify your faith as you prepare you to commit your life to Christ and be received into the Church at Easter. If you're following the RCIA process, you'll go through a beautiful series of Gospel-based meditations during Lent, which is the time frame of this period.
- Initiation itself, the culmination of the whole process! You're received into the Church during the Easter Vigil Mass, where you'll receive the sacraments of initiation: baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist. (If you've already been baptized, you won't be baptized again.)
- Mystagogy: after reception into the Church at Easter, this period lets you reflect and learn more about the mysteries of the Mass and the Sacraments that you now participate in fully. (Beginning Catholic.com)
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