This process is for individuals who have some knowledge of Jesus Christ; they consider their relationship with Jesus Christ and are attracted to the Roman Catholic Church. This Rite has several periods of preparation:
Period of Evangelization and Precatechumenate: This involves a long or short period of searching. During this time the person has contact with people of faith and a personal faith experience lead people to inquire about the Catholic Church. After a conversation with a priest or the RCIA director, the person, known as an “inquirer,” seeks acceptance into the Order of Catechumens. This process happens through the Rite of Acceptance.
Period of Catechumenate: This stage can last for as long as several years or a shorter time. It depends on how the person is growing in faith, what questions they encounter along the way, and how God leads them on this journey. When the director believes the person is ready to make a faith commitment of Jesus in the Church, the next step is the request for baptism and the celebration of the Rite of Election.
Rite of Election: This rite includes the enrollment of names of those seeking baptism at the coming Easter Vigil. On the first Sunday of Lent, the catechumens, their sponsors and families gather at the cathedral church of the Diocese. The catechumens publicly express their desire for baptism. The names are recorded in the Book of the Elect and they are now called “the elect”.
Period of Purification and Enlightenment: The days of Lent are the final period leading up to the Easter Vigil. Lent is the period of preparation marked by prayer, study and spiritual direction for the elect, and prayers for them by the parish community. The Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation takes place during the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday evening when the catechumen received the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist. Now the person is fully initiated into the Roman Catholic Church.
Mystagogy: This is a period of continual education and may continue until Pentecost. The newly baptized continue to learn lmore about the Scriptures, the Sacraments, and the teachings of the Catholic Church. They reflect on how to serve Christ and help in the Mission of the Church.