RCIA Process Summary
Main Categories of Inquirers:
Those that are...
2. Baptized Christian/Uncatechized
3. Baptized Christian/Catechized (faithful and catechized in another Christian tradition)
4. Baptized/Uncatechized Catholic: must be confirmed by Bishop
Length of Process: (Note: an adult is 7 years of age or older)
Those that are...
1. Unbaptized: Lasts a minimum of one year; Including: Rite of Acceptance, Rite of Election, and they receive Sacraments of Initiation on Easter Vigil.
2. Baptized/Catechized in another Christian Tradition: Lasts a minimum of 12 weeks; Including: Rite of Reception.
3. Baptized/Uncatechized Christian in another tradition, or as Catholic/Uncatechized: Lasts a minimum 12 weeks; Including: Rite of Reception.
When a person inquires about becoming Catholic, an interview is arranged as soon as possible. The interview gathers personal information including a description of current and past prayer life, church attendance, familiarity with the bible, and volunteer work. The spiritual information is used to determine the appropriate category and as a bench mark to evaluate subsequent progress and discernment. For example, if an inquirer describes little or no prayer life; does not have a bible or is not familiar with the bible; has not attended a Christian Church with any regularity, the person is deemed uncatechized. As his/her process unfolds, discernment interviews asks the same questions about prayer life, church attendance, bible reading, and among other things, to determine growth and desire to continue the process. The same dimensions are measured with the catechized. A time, place, and schedule convenient to the inquirer are determined for completion of the process. A sponsor is then determined and assigned.
First Session (within a week of the initial interview):
The inquirer is given a schedule of topics, a bible, a catechism or compendium of the Catholic Church, a packet of Catholic Prayers and explanations regarding each. They are asked to read two chapters of the Gospel of Mark each week (later discussed in session). The Gospel reading introduces the inquirer to the life of Jesus. The session topics include: knowledge as belief, the Hierarchy of Truths (the Blessed Trinity, the Incarnation, the Paschal Mystery, the Dignity of the Human Person, and the Church). A one-sheet "Story of the Catholic Family" is given and discussed. The 5 sources of Christian Knowledge (definitions) are discussed: Sacred Deposit, Dogma, Doctrine, Discipline and Devotion. If the inquirer leaves after this, he/she has the basics at least.
Second and Subsequent Sessions:
The initial session gives the inquirer an information skeleton. The subsequent sessions, up to a maximum of 60 lessons (with individual handouts) put flesh on this skeleton usually in this order: The Mass, The Creed, The Catechism, Tour of the Church, God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, The Incarnation, The Paschal Mystery, The Church, the Dignity of the Human Person, the Story of the People of God, Kingdom of God, Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, the Communion of Saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the 4 Last Things, Liturgy, Liturgical Prayer, Intro to Prayer, Prayer traditions, the Battle of Prayer, Sacramental economy, The Sacraments (includes the 10 commandments and how to go to confession), sacramental living, temptation/sin, original sin and mystery of iniquity, the redemption/salvation, call to holiness, and a Spiritual game plan as a final handout. More than one topic is discussed during a session and the inquirer and catechumenate offer opening and closing prayers. Also at the appropriate time, each session 'breaks open the word' given during the recent Sunday Mass.