How Do I Become a Catholic?
Thanks Be to God!
What joyful news that you have heard and responded to God's call!
"Becoming a Catholic" is more than filling out the registration form for the parish. It is a process of formation with specific rites that introduce participants to the liturgy, teachings, and life of the Catholic Church. We call this process RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults). (There is a similar process for children between ages 8 and 18.) RCIA is for:
- Those who have never been baptized.
- Those who were baptized in another Christian faith tradition who may be interested in becoming Catholic.
- Catholics who were baptized but have not celebrated all of their sacraments.
- Anyone who wants to learn more about the Catholic faith. Perhaps you are engaged or married to a Catholic and want to know more about his/her religion. Maybe your children are being raised as Catholics and you want to better understand the faith tradition they are learning. Or, perhaps you have attended church with a Catholic friend and would like to know more.
Your Support Team
People journeying through the RCIA process need sponsors and community support to help them grow in faith. The RCIA team helps guide, support and instruct those discerning whether to become members of the Catholic Church. Team members share their faith with inquiring adults who are seeking more information, many of whom seek to celebrate one or more of the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation.
The Stages of RCIA
The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults is a process that develops over weeks and months. It has several steps:
This is the earliest phase in the process; it is also known as the "Period of Inquiry". Seekers acknowledge that Christ is calling them into the Church through the movement of the Holy Spirit. This is a time for seeking and reflection.
Rite of Initiation
The first rite in the RCIA process, the "Rite of Initiation", accepts new members into the worshipping community.
The longest part of the process, the "Catechumenate", is a time of learning and formation in the traditions and doctrine of the Catholic Church. This is a time for sharing stories, reading scripture, and studying the Church customs, traditions, and doctrine. Participants also take part in worship services and various Church rituals.
Rite of Election
Catechumens* and Candidates** in the Archdiocese are invited to a special celebration at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral (downtown Cincinnati) to be received by the bishop and the community.
Sacraments of Initiation
At the Easter Vigil Mass (on Holy Saturday), all those who have been journeying through the RCIA process are welcomed formally into the community of believers through receiving the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation.
This is a time of reflection and celebration after the formal reception into the Catholic Church. Mystagogia means “leading into the mystery”. It is a time to explore the deep mystery of our faith , learn what it means to live as a Catholic, and go forth to help build the reign of God on Earth as new members of the faithful.
* "Catechumens" are persons who are seeking full initiation into the Catholic Church through all of the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation.
** "Candidates" are people who have been baptized in a Christian tradition but are seeking initiation into the Catholic Church through Eucharist and Confirmation.
Come home to the Church established by Christ. Supper's waiting and
the Savior's calling:
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock;
if anyone hears my voice
and opens the door,
I will come in to him
and eat with him
and he with me." (Rev. 3:20)
- Dr. Scott Hahn
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has a Q&A page for RCIA.