Becoming Catholic - RCIA

What is RCIA?

RCIA stands for: Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.

RCIA is an adult Catholic process of formation and spiritual preparation prior to entry into the Roman Catholic church and community.

This program includes the three initiation sacraments through the rites of Baptism (for those not already baptized Christian) and Confirmation and Eucharist

The RCIA program at St. Joseph parish is led by a team who will help guide participants through the faith journey.  In addition, participants have individual sponsors to pray with and discuss topics throughout the program and parish sponsors to help in the communal life of the parish.

The program consists of four phases:


Initially, participants will learn the RCIA process and overview of the faith to discern whether this is the step they wish to take at this point in their lives. This is a time for participant questions and faith stories.

Catechumenate (study)

Participants attend a number of sessions and retreats to learn the fundamentals of the Roman Catholic Church to develop a prayer life and foster conversion. The main resource of this period are the Sunday readings.

Purification and Enlightenment

Participants focus on self-examination, repentance and prayer in preparation for their entry into the Church. This period is during the Lenten season.


Following the rites of initiation at Easter, the participants are taken through further exploration of the Paschal Mystery. This may also be a time to define the next steps of their journey in faith.

RCIA is a special process that includes adult learning and conversion practices, which are quite different from what you experienced in school.  The RCIA process begins when the individual is ready that is why we have a year-round RCIA process.

The journey focuses on:

  • Your individual steps of conversion and commitment
  • Building community with other individuals, the RCIA class, and the  parish
  • Conveying knowledge about the teachings of the Church
  • Small-group and large-group discussions to examine the personal implications of this knowledge
  • Prayer and meditation in a number of forms
  • Getting involved in giving to the community

Here are some answers to commonly asked questions:

  • What commitment am I expected to make?
  • What if I'm already baptized, confirmed, or a practicing Catholic?
  • What if I'm not ready to make a commitment to the Church yet?
  • How much does the program cost?
  • What materials are used in the class?
  • How confidential are the discussions?
  • What if I'm already Catholic and want to participate in the program?

If you have more questions, please contact Carmen Amato at (256) 534-8459 or e-mail