Christian Initiation (RCIA)
What is RCIA?
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the normal way in which non-baptized men and women enter the Catholic Church. The RCIA process consists of several stages, which include study, prayer and various rites at Mass. Unbaptized participants in the RCIA process are known as catechumens. With the help of leaders and volunteers, the catechumens experience a process of conversion as they study the Gospel, profess faith in Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church, and receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist. The RCIA process follows the ancient practice of the Church and was restored by the Second Vatican Council as the normal way adults should prepare for baptism.
Attending RCIA classes does not automatically commit you to becoming Catholic or returning to the Church. It begins as an inquiry into the faith or refresher for those who have been away. Some who attend RCIA do not intend to become Catholic, but simply want to learn more about our faith. To inquire about RCIA, please call the Church Office at (870) 772-1115.
Men and women who are already baptized Christians, but not Roman Catholics, make a profession of faith but are not baptized again. To prepare for reception into the Catholic Church, the individuals, who are called candidates, usually participate in a program to help them understand the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church. Some preparation may be with catechumens preparing for baptism (in the RCIA program), but the preparation for candidates is different, because they have already been baptized and/or active members of other Christian communities. The level of preparation for each individual candidate is often different and may take a shorter or longer amount of time than others, depending on the candidate's background and circumstances.