St. Joseph Church
New Kensington, Pennsylvania

A Pennsylvania Charitable Trust
A Parish of the Diocese of Greensburg

The Reverend John S. Szczesny             The Reverend Alan W. Grote
                                           Parochial Vicar

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Rite of Christian
Initiation of Adults

            The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the process by which adults become fully initiated members of the Catholic Church.  The RCIA focuses on Christian initiation of adults through the reception of the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist, celebrated in a single liturgy during the Easter Vigil.  Teenagers who wish to enter the Church can join adults in the RCIA.  The Rite of Christian Initiation of Children (RCIC) is modified to accommodate children from age seven on.

            The RCIA is not a new concept.  Rather, it is the method by which people came into the Church in the first several centuries.  The Second Vatican Council restored this ancient practice; the bishops of the world wisely decided to emphasize anew a concept that had been lost over time.

Basic Concepts of the RCIA

  • Conversion is a journey of faith.

  • Becoming Catholic is coming into a community of believers.

  • The RCIA takes place in an experience of community.

  • The RCIA stages are celebrated in community with appropriate liturgical rites.

  • The RCIA experience follows the flow of the liturgical seasons.

  • The RCIA process encourages authentic Catholicity.

The Four Phases of the RCIA Program

  • The period of INQUIRY is a time of getting acquainted and becoming comfortable in the company of other seekers and Catholics.

  • The CATECHUMENATE phase marks the beginning of formal instructions in the faith.  Unbaptized inquirers in this phase are called CATECHUMENATES and inquirers coming into the Church from another Christian denomination are called CANDIDATES.

  • The third phase is the LENTEN PERIOD OF PURIFICATION AND ENLIGHTENMENT.  This is a time of reconciliation and prayer.

  • The last phase of the RCIA process is MYSTAGOGY.  New Catholics use this time to reflect on the RCIA process, and the parish community helps them to begin participating in parish ministry.

Guidelines for Sponsorship

For more information on the RCIA program, please contact the parish office.

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