Starting the RCIA Journey
Period of Evangelisation and Pre-catechumenate
The period of Evangelisation and Pre-catechumenate allows enquirers an opportunity to question and to explore the different aspects of the Catholic faith while being introduced to the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ.
First Step: Rite of Acceptance
At a suitable time, enquirers who are interested in making a deeper commitment to growing in faith participate in the Rite of Acceptance. This Rite is the second period of the RCIA, the Catechumenate. From this moment, the enquirer is accepted into the Church as a catechumen - one preparing for Baptism.
Period of the Catechumenate
During the period of the Catechumenate, catechumens begin to participate with the whole Catholic parish community in the Sunday liturgical celebrations by sharing in the Liturgy of the Word. Through the study of Sacred Scripture, prayer, catechesis and coming to know other Catholics, catechumens discover the love and power of God in their lives and in the Church.
Second Step: Rite of Election
The Rite of Election is an acknowledgement on behalf of the parish priest, the RCIA team, and the sponsors, that the catechumen is suitably formed and ready to receive the Sacraments of Initiation. It is a formal acceptance on behalf of the Church. The catechumens too, formally declare that they believe and accept all that is presented to them in the Catechumenate. The catechumens declare their desire to become a fully active participant of the Catholic faith community.
Period of Purification and Enlightenment
This period takes place during the liturgical season of Lent and is marked by three parish celebrations known as Scrutinies. The elect are presented with the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer and together with their parish community focus on an ever deeper conversion and examination of their lives in light of the Gospel.
Third Step: Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation
At the Easter Vigil the elect are Baptised, Confirmed and make their First Holy Communion, thus becoming full members of the Body of Christ, the Church. From this time, they are known as neophytes, new sprouts, for the first year of their new life in Christ.
Mystagogy and Neophyte Year
This is an important period of reflection for the newly initiated with their parish community, particularly at the Masses during the Easter season. During their neophyte year the new Catholics are especially supported in their participation in the mission of the Church as disciples of Christ. While the fourth period signals the closing of the RCIA chapter, it is the very beginning of living a new life as a fully initiated and participating member of the Catholic Church! A life called to an ongoing mystagogy, an ever deepening conversion to God.
Neophyte: a new convert to a religion
Mystagogy: interpretation of mystery
Members of the parish support you on your RCIA journey through prayer, Christian witness and fellowship.
The Parish Priest and assistant priests at the parish play a special role in ministering to the pastoral and spiritual care of those on the journey.
The role of a sponsor is one of a spiritual friend, of support and care. Ideally sponsors are delegated by the local parish community to take an active and supportive role as companions, witnesses and guides for those seeking to join the Catholic Church. They may also be a Catholic friend or colleague of the catechumen.
Godparents are generally chosen by the catechumens or candidates and have a special role that goes beyond the time-frame of the RCIA journey. As part of the RCIA, the Godparents play an important role during the liturgical rites such as Rite of Election and Sacraments of Initiation. A Godparent must be over 16 years of age and have fully completed their Christian Initiation into the Catholic Church.