Stages of RCIA

The Process

To begin: there are evenings of enquiry, where you can discover what RCIA is all about, have some of your questions answered and hear a little about what Catholics believe as we share our faith stories.


Then: for those who decide to continue the faith journey, there will be weekly evenings of prayer, scripture discussion and teaching about the Catholic faith. You will experience the life of the Catholic community and come to know the presence of God in our lives.


Easter: is usually the time when those who are ready to become Catholics are baptised and fully initiated into our Catholic faith community. We continue to meet until Pentecost Sunday, exploring the mystery of your initiation.


Official Stages of the Rites of Christian Initiation

There are 4 Stages in the Rites of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), with a special Rite taking the person from one stage to the next. These Rites or "ceremonies" are celebrated in the presence of the faith community.

Adults making this journey will either be a:

  • Catechumen - an unbaptized person, or
  • Candidate - a baptised Christian from another faith tradition.

The aspirant is given a companion - a committed Catholic - referred to as a Sponsor.


Stage 1 Pre - Catechumenate


Is a time to:

  • enquire about the Catholic faith
  • spend some time sharing with other Catholics
  • meet Jesus in the Scriptures
  • listen, reflect and decide.

Stage 1 is concluded by a Rite of Acceptance and Welcome.


Stage 2 Catechumenate


Is a time to:

  • grow in faith and conversion to God
  • change in thinking, feelings and values
  • gain knowledge about the teachings of the Catholic church
  • weekly Mass
  • meet weekly with other Catechumens, Candidates, Sponsors and parish team.

Stage 2 is completed with a Rite of Election, where the Church formally acknowledges the readiness of Catechumens and Candidates. This ceremony is presided over by the Bishop, and takes place on the 1st Sunday in Lent, at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton.


Catechumens then select a Godparent, and become known as the Elect.


Stage 3 Pre - Purification and Enlightenment

  • Lent - a time for reflection and prayer
  • A time of change - conversion for all of us

At the Easter Vigil, Catechumens and Candidates undergo the Rite of Initiation, where they may receive the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and First Eucharist.


Stage 4 Mystagogia


Our newly baptised are now called Neophytes (newly planted).

  • We share the experience of initiation at the Easter Vigil
  • Reflect more deeply on the mysteries of our faith and the Sacraments
  • experience parish life as a Catholic
  • continue to participate in the work of the parish.