Becoming Catholic (RCIA)
If you considering becoming Catholic, this is a good place to start.
How did you find your way here – to Boston, to your current job or school, to your friends? Life doesn’t usually follow direct, clear paths, but sometimes it does offer invitations – to stay or leave, to deepen or pull back, to change or stay the course. In Christianity, we refer to those invitations as “grace”, because we are convinced that these moments aren’t random, but are privileged circumstances that God has made possible.
You’ve found your way here to this website because now may be one of those graced times – a time when God is inviting you to closer relationship, to learn more about the Christian story of God in Jesus of Nazareth, or to consider an invitation to the Catholic church and the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is primarily designed for:
- Adults who are not baptized and are interested in learning more about the Catholic faith
- Adults baptized in another Christian church and might be interested in becoming a Catholic
- Adults baptized in the Catholic tradition but have yet to receive the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist
The Rite of Initiation is not about participating in a program or course of study. Instead, the Church recognizes that the initiation process is a period of formation and a time for prayer, catechesis, and ritual that prepares an individual to discern how best to grow in relationship with God. You can read about RCIA in detail on the Archdiocese of Boston site.
The RCIA process involves four stages:
- The first is inquiry (or pre-catechumenate) and is designed for people simply interested in learning more about the Catholic faith but who have no commitment to become Catholics. This period can last months to years and may conclude with a person expressing his or her desire to be accepted into the order of catechumens.
- The next stage is catechumenate. This entails a spiritual journey and rite of initiation for adults. This stage can also last months or years and includes catechesis and various rites. Catechesis involves learning about and reflecting on various elements of Church life and doctrine. The idea is to immerse the participant into the life of a parish.
- The third stage follows the rite of election and is called “enlightenment” or “purification.” This is the time of preparation for the Easter celebration and the sacraments of initiation.
- The final period extends through the whole Easter season and is devoted to post-baptismal catechesis or mystagogy, a process of appreciating the mysteries of the newly lived faith.
If you’re interested in participating in RCIA, contact Fr. Chuck Cunniff, CSP.
A core element of RCIA is participation by community members. We need catechists (teachers), reflectors (community members who reflect on Sunday’s scriptures with the catechumens and candidates), and sponsors (community members who accompany a candidate or a catechumen through the RCIA process).
To become involved leading RCIA, contact Fr. Chuck Cunniff, CSP.