The Catholic Church always welcomes new members into its community. Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the present-day process by which people enter into the faith. RCIA is a process in which interested men and women can explore Catholicism, and make a decision to become a Catholic over a period of months.
Who can apply?
Any adult, 18 years and older, who is unbaptized or a baptized Christian of another faith, may participate in the RCIA process.
What is the process?
1. The process begins with several weeks of inquiry and instruction, during which interested individuals can learn the core beliefs of the Catholic Church, sacraments and rituals, and basic church history. This is a time when inquirers ask a lot of questions of the RCIA team members and class speakers. After this initial period, participants are asked to affirm their decision to continue the conversion process.
2. Next is an extended period of weekly classes and other activities designed to involve participants in the church community. This period allows participants the opportunity to examine their commitment to the process through regular attendance at classes, participation in community service events and involvement in other parish activities.
3. For those committed, the next step is an intense period of prayer and reflection leading to the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation. Holy Trinity normally confers Baptism at the Easter vigil, and confirmation either at Easter or on the feast of Christ the King in late autumn.
4. The process is completed in a period of reflection and prayer during which the newly baptized and/or confirmed Catholics can further their faith formation.
I’m engaged to marry a Catholic and we want to be married in the Catholic church. What should I do?
We encourage your interest in marrying in the church, but discourage entry into the RCIA process for the sole purpose of marriage in the Church. Since initiation into the faith is a long-term commitment, we suggest you proceed with the marriage then enter the RCIA process after careful thought and prayer.
What if I’m married civilly, divorced, or divorced and remarried?
If you were married in a civil ceremony or if you are divorced and remarried, the Church may require an annulment or convalidation. Your circumstances must be addressed before beginning RCIA (Please see other church brochures on Annulments or Civil Marriages /Convalidations, or speak with one of the priests or deacons.)
If you are divorced but not remarried, you are free to begin the RCIA process. An annulment may be required if you later choose to marry in the Catholic Church.
What documents are required for becoming Catholic?
Baptized Christians of another faith will need a copy of their baptismal record. Copies of marriage certificates and decrees of annulment in the Church may be required if appropriate.
What about attendance?
Regular participation is strongly encouraged at all Sunday meetings, days of prayer and community service events. Attendance is viewed as a commitment to the process. Please feel free to discuss any attendance conflicts with one of the RCIA team members.
Does anyone help me?
You will be paired with a sponsor to help you throughout the initiation process. Sponsors are fully initiated Catholics chosen from the Holy Trinity community. Spouses or fiancées may assist the participant, but are not encouraged to act as their sponsor. The RCIA team is always available to answer questions and to select your sponsor.
Those who seek the sacrament of Baptism may choose a godparent in addition to their sponsor. Details will be explained during the process.
When does the process start?
Those curious about the Catholic faith are encouraged to begin exploring this process whenever they feel so moved. Timing of the process and reception of sacraments is always geared toward your readiness to move forward through the process. The majority of candidates for the sacraments traditionally begin this process in the fall, moving toward receiving the sacraments at Easter, but we welcome you to begin this process at any time.
How can I learn more?
Contact the Holy Trinity Religious Education Office, Monday – Friday, 9am to 5pm, at 214-526-8555; or email email@example.com