Adults who want to learn more about the Catholic faith, and possibly join the church, enter a process called the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults). The RCIA is composed of four steps.
• The Inquiry or Precatechumenate stage is a period of hearing the first preaching of the Gospel. This stage ends with the Rite of Acceptance, a rite where the person making the inquiry states his or her desire to enter the church to the entire community.
• The Catechumenate stage is set aside for a more thorough catechesis, instruction on the Sacraments and other church teachings. This stage ends with the Rite of Election, a rite where the catechumen sign the Book of the Elect which is then signed by the Bishop.
• The period of Purification and Enlightenment is designed for a more intense spiritual preparation, consisting of more interior reflection than catechetical instruction. This stage includes the celebration of the scrutinies, which are rituals where the entire community prays over those wishing to enter the church that they deepen their resolve to set aside their past faults and sins, hold fast to Christ and to carry out their decision to love God above all. This period concludes with the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist).
• Mystagogy is the period after the Sacraments of Initiation where the newly received learn more about the different ministries in their parish and decide how they want to more fully live out their faith within the community.
If you are interested in learning more about the Catholic faith contact your nearest parish.