Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults


Welcome! Are you thirsting for a relationship with God? A longing to know Jesus? A desire to serve the poor? Have you seen someone so filled love and goodness that you want to know what nourishes them? If you are an unbaptized adult, come and journey with the Good Shepherd Catholic community on becoming a Catholic through the RCIA.

The RCIA is a process “designed for adults who, after hearing the mystery of Christ proclaimed, consciously and freely seek the living God and enter the way of faith and conversion as the Holy Spirit opens their hearts. By God’s help they will be strengthened spiritually during their preparation and at the proper time will receive the sacraments fruitfully.” [The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, #1.] This faith formation takes place within the community of the faithful, is a gradual process and has a four-fold foci: evangelization – coming to know the mystery of God; catechesis – coming to know who we are as church; prayer and mission.

There are four periods that belong to this process, each ending with a ritual celebration:

Precatechumenate—Inquiry and pondering

Catechumenate—scripture, faith sharing, catechesis

Purification/Enlightenment—intense spiritual preparation (during Lent)

Mystagogia—celebration of the sacraments/Easter season

The Precatechumenate: A Time of Inquiry & Growth

Beginning your journey: Contact S. Joann Julka to schedule an informal meeting to share a little about yourself and where you are on this faith journey.

After this initial meeting, you will be directed to a team member who will mentor you through the Period of Inquiry. This period lasts as long as needed for inquiry and introduction to gospel values. It is a time to ask questions and to learn about Jesus, the Catholic Church and Catholicism, the Bible, the Sacraments and other questions you have about faith and God.

At the end of this period, you will discern if you are ready to continue this journey of faith in the Catholic church. If so, you will prepare to celebrate the Rite of Acceptance.

The Catechumenate: A time of Catechesis and Faith sharing

This step of the journey begins with the Rite of Acceptance/Welcome and ends with the Rite of Sending/Election.

The two public rituals afford the community the opportunity to come to know, recognize and pray for and with you.You will be expected to attend Mass through the Liturgy of the Word and then will be dismissed to process the Scriptures and continue to learn about the faith you seek.

The Rite of Sending happens at the parish church.

The Rite of Election, usually celebrated the 1st Sunday of Lent, happens at the Cathedral with the Archbishop. This rite ratifies your readiness for the sacraments of initiation.


The Time of Enlightenment & Purification

This period usually happens during the Lenten Season.

It is a time of reflection, centered on conversion, marked by some rituals and presentations and preparation for the rites on Holy Saturday.

Dismissal at Mass continues.


Mystagogy or Postbaptismal Catechesis

Period of time usually during the Easter Season

Introduce the “neophyte” into a fuller and more effective understanding the mysteries…” (RCIA 245) through discussion of the Gospels, sharing the Eucharist, and doing works of charity (the mission of the parish)

Meet to “unpack” the Holy Saturday experience and to enter more fully into the community

Marguerite Thompson

Director of Adult Formation and Social Justice