Adults and children who have reached the age of reason (around age seven) who are unbaptized or baptized in another Christian faith tradition and seek to embrace the Catholic faith participate in an initiation process called the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). Both adults and children are fully initiated into the Catholic Church during this process, celebrating Baptism, if needed, Confirmation, and First Eucharist.
Holy Infant offers a year-round RCIA process, so a person may enter the first phase, Inquiry, at any time throughout the year. Inquirers bring their questions about Christianity and Catholicism to the meetings which are led by members of the RCIA team.
During the Inquiry phase, there are no expectations for participation and no obligation to provide the RCIA team with any notice or reason for missing sessions. Participants may choose to come one week and not return for 6 or 12 months. At that time they are happily welcomed back.
The focus of the Inquiry phase is to address the concerns and questions of the participants and to provide a basic understanding of what it means to embrace the Roman Catholic faith. Some will decide that the Catholic faith is right for them. Others may decide not to go further in the process at this time. Inquiry meetings are held approximately twice a month on a weekday evening. Check the weekly bulletin for a schedule of meeting times.
For those who decide to become a member of the Catholic Church, the next step is a transition into the second phase of the RCIA, called the Catechumenate. The transition is marked by an Entrance Rite, celebrated during one of the weekend liturgies.
The Catechumenate phase is more structured than the Inquiry phase, and participants are expected to attend as many of the Catechumenate sessions as possible. As in the Inquiry phase, there is no set length of time for this phase.
The curriculum for the Catechumenate is based on the Lectionary and on the needs of the members of the Catechumenate. Those in the Catechumenate, called catechumens (unbaptized) or candidates (baptized in another Christian faith tradition), are expected to attend liturgy once each weekend. The liturgy time will be specified by the RCIA team and will rotate from week to week.
During the liturgy, following the Liturgy of the Word, participants in the Catechumenate are 'sent forth' ('dismissed') to discuss the weekend's readings while the rest of the parish prepares for and celebrates the Liturgy of the Eucharist (Communion). After the liturgy, spouses, sponsors and the rest of the RCIA team join those in the Parish Center for the Catechumenate session that lasts about an hour.
Purification and Enlightenment
This third phase of the RCIA process, Purification and Enlightenment, immediately precedes the celebration of the sacraments of initiation. The focus of this period is on prayer and spiritual reflection. For those preparing for Baptism, this phase takes place during the season of Lent, as catechumens prepare for full initiation at the Easter Vigil. For those who are baptized and seeking full communion with the Catholic Church, the Purification and Enlightenment phase and the initiation sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist can be celebrated at different times of the year.
The fourth phase of the RCIA process, Mystagogy, occurs after one has become a fully initiated member of the Catholic Church. It is a time to ponder one’s experience of the sacraments, as well as a time to reflect on how to live as a Catholic Christian.
For more information about the RCIA process, contact the Faith Development Director.