Confused by the vocabulary? Check this out first: RCIA Glossary
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the normal way for unbaptized persons and those who have been baptized in another Christian tradition to become a Catholic, through a process of discerning and ritualizing the stages of gradual conversion. The rite of Christian initiation is designed for adults (and children of catechetical age) who, after hearing the mystery of Christ proclaimed, consciously and freely seek the living God and enter the way of faith and conversion as the Holy Spirit opens their hearts. By God’s help they will be strengthened spiritually during their preparation and at the proper time will receive the sacraments fruitfully. (RCIA Introduction 1)
For the Unbaptized, the RCIA gradually uncovers the story of God’s salvation for all; the mystery of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection; and the workings of the Holy Spirit as revealed in the beliefs, sacramental life and spiritual practices of the Catholic Church. The initiation of catechumens is a gradual process that takes place within the community of the faithful and in accordance with the Church’s liturgical year. Together with the catechumens, the faithful reflect upon the value of the paschal mystery, renew their own conversion, and by their example lead the catechumens to obey the Holy Spirit more generously. (#4)
For Baptized Christians who seek full communion with the Catholic Church, the RCIA includes rites and pastoral practice. (RCIA Part II: sections 4 and 5).
For Baptized Catholics who have received no other faith formation and have not received the sacraments of Confirmation an