Stained glass windows. Green and purple.

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)

What is it to be Catholic?  How does one become Catholic?  What is the process?  

You may have some ideas about the Catholic faith.  You may be married to a Catholic, possibly attending Mass with your spouse and would like to learn more.  You may be planning to marry a Catholic and want to join them in their faith.  You are a Christian from another faith and are interested in what Catholics believe. You may have been baptized but never received the Sacrament of 1st Eucharist or Confirmation.  Or none of these.   You have discovered that at this point in your faith life, you want to learn more.

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults at St. John the Evangelist Parish is a program that will answer your questions and guide you on your faith journey.

Faith does not mean that we have all the answers – it means believing that God has the answers, and you are willing to discover.

The program does not cost any money – just your time and commitment!  We meet every Thursday evening (via Zoom during Covid) from 7pm to 9pm from September to May.  And, of course, you will attend Mass every Sunday (either in person or online).

You are under no obligation to complete the program. This program is A Journey - a faith journey that contrasts with our fast pace culture.    Taking place will be various encounters, changes in perspective and new experiences. For all of us (even the catechists), it is God’s invitation to grow or change in some way.  When you complete the program, you will know far more than most cradle Catholics.

What do we cover in nine months?

  • Learn about and experience the Christian life:  Specifically, Roman Catholic tradition
  • Become initiated into the life of our Church through the celebration of the three Sacraments of Initiation
  • Baptism
  • Confirmation
  • Eucharist

(There are 7 Sacraments we will learn in greater detail throughout the year)

The Stages of RCIA

Stage One:  Inquiry

  • For the 1st 8 to 10 weeks
  • Become acquainted with the church
  • Good News (Gospel)
  • Look within your own story to make and mark connections.
  • This period can last your entire life!
  • Ends with the Rite of Acceptance
    • those who are unbaptized are called Catechumens
    • those who are baptized in other Christian traditions are known as Candidates

This part of the process is marked by a deepening in the candidate’s and catechumen’s prayer life, a deeper journey into scripture and Catholic teachings, and a strengthening of the budding relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church.

Stage Two:  Period of the Catechumenate (and the Candidate)

  • From the Rite of Acceptance until Easter
  • Specifics to Catholicism
  • Catechumens and Candidates are dismissed from Mass before the liturgy of the Eucharist for further instruction on the Scripture readings.  
  • The period of the catechumenate lasts for several weeks, and towards the end of it there is an opportunity, once again, to discern whether to move forward.

Stage Three:  Period of Purification, Illumination and Enlightenment

  • A stage within Stage Two:  it is the 6 weeks during Lent
  • marked by two liturgical rites that are celebrated with the bishop. 
    • The Rite of Election for the catechumens, who will now be known as the Elect
    • The Call to Lenten Renewal for the candidates. 

The Rite of Election is another major step on the road to full membership in the Catholic Church through baptism. The names of the catechumens are written in the book of the elect, and this is presented by each parish to the bishop during the liturgy.  There are also three “blessings” that are called the Scrutiny’s.   The priest asks God to strengthen and protect the catechumens on their journey. 

This period of purification leads up to the day when we welcome the candidates and catechumens into full communion with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil.

Stage Four:  Sacrament of Initiation (Easter)

  • Full reception into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil

Stage Five:  Mystagogy (after Easter)

  • We meet for about 4 to 6 weeks after Easter.
  • Mystagogy is "interpretation of mystery".  The purpose of the Mystagogy is to enable the newly baptized to draw from their sacramental experience a new sense of the faith, the Church, and the world.
  • Continue the Journey

Faith means that we do not always have to feel the confirmation of our beliefs.  Our closeness with God is not evaluated in terms of our feelings.  God is as close to us when we are cranky as when we are happy.  Persisting in spite our feelings is our most authentic expression of faith.

If you are a practicing Catholic and are willing to put in the time to attend RCIA Sessions, we may need you to be a sponsor.  RCIA is also building up our parish family and we have many newcomers that need to feel welcome.

A story about Faith

There is a story about a devout Christian who visited a Bishop.  She wanted to become Catholic but there was one thing stopping her.  

She could not become Catholic because she did not understand Transubstantiation; that the Bread & Wine is the “real presence” of the Body and Soul Divinity (Humanity & Divinity) while retaining all the characteristics of bread and wine.  It cannot be tested for DNA.

Christians differ in the meaning this Last Supper has to them and the Church today. Catholic Christians together with other historical Christian Churches (e.g., Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Christians, Lutherans, Anglicans, and some Episcopalians, etc.) believe the literal words of Jesus - that the bread and wine are truly his body and blood. Other Christian Churches profess that is it a mere symbolic meaning to the words of Jesus.

This lady told the Bishop that she wanted to become Catholic but did not understand how bread and wine could be the body and blood of Jesus.  The bishop immediately replied “Neither do I!  It’s a mystery to me.”  

That is faith.


Spirit of Jesus, open hearts and give free rein to our dreams.

Let fears be banished and hope be ushered in.

Give us courage and persistence we need to make our dreams come true

Spirt of Jesus, 

Inspire our imagination with new vision and breathe new passion into our lives.



Those interested in joining RCIA are encouraged to call the parish at 905-668-3676 to book an appointment with our pastor.