The letters “RCIA” stand for the “Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults”, the document flowing from Vatican II which guides the process by which adults are initiated into our Roman Catholic community. The RCIA is a process in which men and women are guided and cared for as they awaken in faith and are gradually introduced to the Catholic way of life.
The RCIA process is a series of carefully planned stages, marked by liturgical rites in the presence of the whole community, in which new Catholics embark on and join us in a continuing and deepening conversion into faith and discipleship. The RCIA takes the history and spiritual needs of each person into account, differentiating between the baptized and the unbaptized.
The RCIA draws its model from the “catechumenate” of the ancient Church. Becoming Christian in the early days of the Church involved a sharp break with the surrounding culture. New Christians entered into the joy of new life and a life-sharing community of faith, but also entered into a way of living, which demanded deep commitment and entailed great risks. In the modern world, our faith also demands deep commitment — our beliefs and the beliefs of our society are often in tension. The Church revived the catechumenate because new believers in the modern world need careful preparation and caring support as they enter into the mysteries of Christ and the commitment of Christian living.