(RCIA) is a religious formation program for adults and children 7 and older who wish to join the Catholic Church. Participants examine their faith while learning about the Catholic tradition. RCIA is a faith journey and, like any journey, the RCIA has several parts.
Stage One: INQUIRY
· Inquiry helps a person to know if being a Catholic Christian is right for them. Inquiry is a time of welcome, asking questions, and sharing experiences. There is no formal commitment to the Church at this point.
· When an inquirer is ready to make a formal commitment to the Church, a Rite of Acceptance is celebrated at a Sunday Mass. This Rite marks the beginning of the second stage of the journey.
Stage Two: CATECHUMENATE
· The work of the catechumenate is to make the Gospel message more central in our lives. There is scripture study, exposure to the Roman Catholic faith and practices, and a continuation of the prayer and faith sharing begun in Inquiry.
Stage Three: PURIFICATION AND ENLIGHTENMENT
· During Lent, those adults preparing to receive the sacraments at Easter enter into a retreat period. Together with the entire Church, they prepare through prayer and reflection of the Lenten gospels for their baptism or reception in the Roman Catholic Church.
· The preparation period ends with the reception of the sacraments of Initiation, Baptism, Confirmation, and First Eucharist at the Easter Vigil.
· On the First Sunday of Lent, those adults ready to receive the sacraments at Easter come together at Cathedral with the Bishop to celebrate the Rite of Election. The Rite of Election marks the beginning of the final stage of preparation for receiving the sacraments at Easter.
Stage Four: MYSTAGOGIA
· In the final stage of the RCIA journey, the newly initiated continue to meet on the Sundays of Easter to explore what it means to live the Catholic faith in the world.
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