What is RCIA?

The RCIA is a program of learning, reflection, faith development and conversion for those wishing to know more about Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church with the possible goal of one day being fully initiated into the Catholic Church through the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist.  This entire journey of faith is celebrated by different liturgical ceremonies, called rites, within the parish community as the seeker journeys with Christ and the community of the church.  This journey of faith takes place with others who are inquiring about the faith, with sponsors from the parish community and with catechists.  There are four periods in the RCIA - Inquiry, Catechumenate, Purification and Enlightenment, and Mystagogy.

What are the Sacraments of Initiation?

These are the first three of the seven sacraments of the church that bring us into a full spiritual union with Christ and his Mystical Body, the church.

Baptism - Jesus told His disciples to go out and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  "Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, and the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments.  Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons and daughters of God; we become members of Christ and are incorporated into the church and made sharers in her mission.  Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word." (CCC 1213)

Confirmation - Prior to His ascension into heaven, Jesus told His apostles that He would send them the Holy Spirit to be their advocate and guide, and on the Feast of Pentecost, the promised gift of the Holy Spirit fell on the apostles and the Virgin Mary as they prayed in the Upper Room, empowering them to be witnesses of Jesus in the world. "The Sacrament of Confirmation perfects Baptismal grace; it is the sacrament which gives the Holy Spirit in order to root us more deeply in the divine filiation, incorporates us more firmly into Christ, strengthens our bond with the church, associates us more closely with her mission, and helps us to bear witness to the Christian faith in words accompanied by deeds."  (CCC 1316)  "Confirmation, like Baptism, imprints a spiritual mark or indelible character on the Christians' soul; for this reason one can receive this sacrament only once in one's life."  (CCC 1317)

The Holy Eucharist - The Holy Eucharist completes Christian initiation. Those who have been raised to the dignity of the royal priesthood by Baptism and configured more deeply to Christ by Confirmation, participate with the whole community in the Lord's own sacrifice by means of the Eucharist.  (CCC 1322)

"At the Last Supper, on the night Jesus was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of His Body and Blood.  This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to His beloved spouse, the church, a memorial of His death and resurrection:  a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us."   (CCC 1323)

Who is the RCIA for?

1. Those, who have never been baptized in any faith tradition, interested in coming to know Jesus Christ and in exploring the beliefs and practices of the Catholic church, which He founded.  After a time of study, prayer, association with the Catholic community, discernment, and conversion, should these persons choose to embrace the Catholic faith, they would be baptized, confirmed and receive the Holy Eucharist at the Easter Vigil, the Saturday night before Easter.

2. Those, who have already been baptized in a different non-Catholic faith tradition, e.g. Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian, etc., and wish to explore the beliefs and practices of the Catholic church.  After a time of study, prayer, association with the Catholic community, discernment, and conversion, these persons, should they choose to embrace the Catholic faith, would first receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Then during Mass with the community, they would make a profession of faith in the Creed and all that the Catholic church teaches and professes to be revealed by God and then receive the Sacrament of Confirmation and Holy Eucharist.

3.  Those, who are baptized Catholics lacking the Sacraments of Confirmation and/or Holy Eucharist.  After the needed preparation, these persons would receive whichever Sacraments of Initiation that they are lacking.

4.  A fully initiated Catholic who is interested in learning more about their faith may also attend the RCIA sessions for further faith development.

5.  Persons who are divorced and remarried should discuss with one of the priests, their present marriage situation to see if an annulment might be needed or if there is a need to have their present marriage blessed (convalidated) in the Catholic church.



RCIA Coordinator
(361) 215-4876

Contact Erin or the Church office if you are interested in learning more about RCIA by calling (361) 888-9308 or by email.


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