Signing the Book of the Elect
Bishop signs the Book of Elect
A newly baptized
ST. JUDE PARISH
Each year on Holy Saturday during the Easter Vigil, thousands are baptized into the Catholic Church in the United States. Parishes welcome these new Catholics through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults is a minimum 2-year process in which an unbaptized person over 7 years of age go through catechesis and celebration of rites towards receiving the sacraments of initiation.
This process is composed of four stages, namely:
1) Inquiry or Evangelization Period - During this period, the unbaptized individuals are introduced to the Word of God, basic catechesis and practices in the Catholic church in a no pressure classroom environment. They grow and begin to embrace the faith, and show the initial conversion by staying away from sin and drawing towards the mystery of God's love. This period ends with the Rite of Acceptance.
2) Catechumenate Period - This is the period is a longer amount of time where the Catechumens are given pastoral formation and guidance towards living a good Christian live. More intense catechesis is given to them and they develop to grown in the parish community. The Church helps these Catechumens learn and understand the liturgical rites, and strengthened by God's blessings, work toward their purification and better understanding of the Eucharist. This is a period of faith formation, understanding and participation in the liturgy and apostolic activities, and beginning of parish life. This period is commenced with the Rite of Election by the Bishop.
3) Purification and Enlightenment - During this period, the celebrations of God's word take place in various ways. Special prayers and minor exorcisms by the Pastor or Priest are done, the Creed and the Lord's Prayer are presented to the Catechumens in different ceremonies in the Church. This is the period of final preparation of the Catechumens for their sacraments of initiation. This period concludes during the Baptism of the Catechumens at the celebration of the Easter Vigil, and at that same liturgy, they receive the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Eucharist.
4) Mystagogy Period - This is the final period of RCIA where the newly baptized (Neophytes) are catechized mostly on having them put everything they learned during their catechetical periods, into practice and live a Catholic life. The importance of the Mass, Sacrament of Reconciliation, the Path to Holiness. the Virtues of Faith, Hope and Love; and many more.
The official end of this process (RCIA) is Pentecost Sunday.
The Sacraments of Initiation are celebrated at the Easter Vigil mass.
The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults does not only include preparation for the Sacraments of Initiation. We also provide catechesis to those who are already baptized in the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations. It is a shorter process but the main focus is the spiritual change and development of the baptized and their real conversion, drawing away from evil and moving towards the good.
They also go through the Period of Inquiry, that ends with the Rite of Welcoming. After that, they go through the normal process of intense Catechesis; they go to an exortation rite by the Bishop called, the Rite to the Call of Continuing Conversion on the first weekend of Lent.
More catechesis is given to them by their Catechists, priests or deacons, they learn to live the Word of God, and with the support and love of the parish community, Finally, they received the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Eucharist.
a) Those who were baptized in the Catholic Church are confirmed by the Bishop or his authorized delegate, at any time of the year.
b) Those baptized in other Christian denominations with valid baptisms, are received in full communion with the Catholic Church anytime during the Easter season. They are required to have a recite with full sincerity, the Profession of Faith, and they receive Confirmation and Holy Eucharist by the Pastor of the parish or his authorized delegate.
"Come and See the Goodness of the Lord"