How does an un-baptized person become Catholic?
How does a person baptized in another Christian denomination enter the Catholic Church?
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, commonly known as the
RCIA or the
Catechumenate is the process through which un-baptized persons who are the age of 7 or older enter the Catholic Faith. It is also the process through which persons baptized in another Christian tradition enter the Catholic Church. Uncatechized Catholics, baptized as infants, needing the sacraments of
Eucharist also complete their formation through the RCIA.
The RCIA is a process of different periods with special rites marking each period. Most of the rites have a proper place within the Sunday Liturgy.
first period of the RCIA is the
pre-catechumenate. This is a time of evangelization and fostering of first faith. It is informal and designed to give inquirers a safe place to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ, learn the basics of the Catholic Church and experience the first stirrings of faith and desire. This period can last anywhere from 3 months to a year or more, depending on the individual, and takes place on Tuesday night.
Rite of Acceptance (
for the un-baptized) and the
Rite of Welcoming (
for the baptized) mark the transition from the first to the second period of the RCIA. The
second period, called the
Catechumenate, is more formal and structured, focusing on Catholic doctrine, belief and life-style, supported by the Sunday readings as experienced in the Breaking Open of the Word. At St. Albert of Trapani, the Breaking Open of the Word takes place at the Sunday Eucharist (9:00 a.m. Mass of the Catechumens) with dismissal after the homily. The
Catechumenate demands the following criteria:
(1) a suitable catechesis, gradual but complete, accommodated to the liturgical year and solidly supported by celebrations of the Word,
(2) Support by the sponsors, godparents and the entire Christian community as the candidates enter into the life of the Church,
(3) Participation in suitable liturgical rites, which purify gradually and strengthen the catechumens with God’s blessing, and
(4) Apostolic service and personal witness which builds up the Church. The period of the Catechumenate should last at least one liturgical year.
Rite of Election marks the
conclusion of the period of the Catechumenate and the beginning of the
Period of Purification and Enlightenment. This rite marks the end of catechesis and begins the period of deep reflection and scrutiny. For the un-baptized, three scrutinies are celebrated. The scrutinies are meant to reveal all that is weak and sinful, everything that is blind and in denial, and everything that is bound or dying. The scrutinies also build up all that is strong and good. The baptized candidates will take part in the scrutinies with the un-baptized or celebrate a penitential rite on their own.
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is the work of the whole parish. The formal ministers of the RCIA are the
Priests, Deacons, Liturgists and RCIA Director. Other ministers include the
team members (catechists), sponsors, godparents and indeed the whole assembly who prays for and supports all of those desiring to enter the Catholic Church.
Sponsors and team members are needed to fulfill the ministry of the RCIA. For more information call
Rey Sanguyo, 832.231.0799.