Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA)
RCIA is the Rite of Christian Initiation for both adults and children. It is a process of faith development and catechetical instruction which culminates in full membership in the Catholic Church with the reception of the “sacraments of initiation”: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. This reception takes place during the Easter Vigil Mass. The journey includes four stages: Inquiry, Catechumenate, Lent, and Mystagogy. Sessions typically take place on Sunday mornings.
During this first stage in the faith journey, inquirers begin to form relationships with one another and with their catechists. Sessions are informal, with curiosities being shared and answered. When a decision to continue in the process is made, inquirers ask sponsors to mentor them along the way. Then, the Rite of Acceptance is celebrated during a Sunday Mass.
During the Rite of Acceptance, those who have not been Baptized become catechumens. Those who have already been Baptized in the Catholic faith, but may have fallen away from the Church prior to the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Confirmation, become candidates. Sessions now become more instructional, with emphasis on the Word of God in the Sunday readings.
The Rite of Election takes place on the first Sunday of Lent. It is celebrated by the bishop and is held at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg. This rite marks a significant transition. Catechumens and candidates now become the elect, and their names are inscribed in the Book of Enrollment. On the third, fourth, and fifth Sundays of Lent, the Rites of the Scrutinies are celebrated at a Sunday Mass leading up to the Easter Vigil Mass.
The Rites of Initiation take place at the Easter Vigil, immediately after the homily. First comes the Liturgy of Baptism, then the Rite of Confirmation. The elect are now neophytes, or new Catholics. They then lead the parish community in receiving the Eucharist. Neophtyes’ final stage of preparation, during the Season of Easter, centers on learning about their Church’s specific ministries and their personal commitment to at least one of them.
Anyone interested in learning about RCIA should contact the Office of Faith Formation at 412-372-4577 x 208 or [email protected].