Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults


Peace be with you!

If you are interested in joining the Catholic Church, or if you need to complete the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation), RCIA is for you or your Children if they are 8 or older). The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is a year round ministry at St Joan of Arc and a new group of inquirers is nearly always forming.Anyone interested in inquiring into the Catholic Church are welcome to participate in the RCIA with your questions, your insights and your faith story in a warm accepting setting. There are also separate sessions for children or youth (ages 8-16).

If you would like to know more about the Catholic Church or just have some questions about what Catholic Christians believe, please contact Deacon Joe Badalis at (252) 331-9318 or jbadalis@stjoanofarcva.org or Deacon Jim Satterwhite at jsatterwhite@stjoanofarcva.org or the Parish Office (757) 898-5570. Please contact us as well if you are a Parishioner of St. Joan of Arc Parish and want to be involved in the RCIA. All are welcome!

Leading a Dismissal (Breaking Open the Word)

RCIA Family

As people come forward inquiring, they begin to form the nucleus of the next RCIA family. Sometimes marriage/annulment issues can be addressed before weekly sessions begin to smooth the path for full initiation later. Each participant has a unique story and gifts to share. If you are interested in offering yours, call Deacon Jim Satterwhite a the Parish Office 898-5570, or e-mail jsatterwhite@stjoanofarcva.org.

Below is a short description of the RCIA:

The RCIA is a dynamic part of St Joan of Arc parish, The RCIA, is a process through which adult men, women, and youth (ages 8-18) enter the Catholic Church. It includes several stages marked by participation in community, study, prayer, and rites at Mass. Participants in the RCIA are known as candidates (baptized Christians from other non-Catholic Christian denominations) and catechumen (Unbaptized). In the RCIA, each undergo a process of conversion as they study the Gospel, profess faith in Jesus and the Catholic Church, and receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist.

The RCIA process follows the ancient practice of the Church and was restored by the Second Vatican Council as the normal way adults and youth to prepare for baptism. The RCIA has four periods:

I. Period of Inquiry

Prior to formally beginning the RCIA process, an individual comes to some knowledge of Jesus Christ, considers his or her relationship with Jesus Christ and is usually attracted in some way to the Catholic Church. For some people, this process involves a long period of searching; for others, it is a shorter time. Often, some contact with people of faith and a personal faith experience leads people to inquire about membership in the Catholic Church.

After conversation with the Pastor or a member of the RCIA team, the person, known as an inquirer, may decide to continue the process and after a time of exploring the Christian faith seek acceptance into the Order of Catechumens (those who are Unbaptized) or ask to be welcomed into the Church (those who are already Baptized). This involves a celebration that marks the intention of the inquirers to continue their journey towards full membership in the Catholic Faith through the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation. The next period is known as the Catechumenate which means: one who is being instructed. During this time each Candidate and Catechumen is assigned a sponsor from the Parish whose purpose is to journey with each Candidate and Catechumen as they draw nearer to Christ.

II. Period of the Catechumenate

The RCIA program’s length depends on how the person is growing in faith, what questions or obstacles they encounter along the way, and how God leads them on this faith journey. During the period of the Catechumenate, candidates and catechumen consider what God is saying to them in the Scriptures, what changes in their life they want to make to respond to God’s inspiration, and what membership in the Catholic Church involves.

III. The Period of Purification and Enlightenment

The third stage of the RCIA process is called “Purification and Enlightenment phase. This period usually takes place during the forty days of the Lenten Season. During the Lenten Season, in preparation for the joy of Easter that approaches, the faithful are called to a time of personal reconciliation and prayer. During this time, the focus of the RCIA process changes. Instruction into the Catholic Faith is replaced with an emphasis on conversion. Those who are already baptized take this opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Confession.

The Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation: The Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation, for the unbaptized normally takes place during the Easter Vigil Liturgy on Holy Saturday night when the catechumen (unbaptized) receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist. Candidates (those already Baptized) may receive the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Eucharist after a time of formation to help them understand and experience the specific teachings and practices of the Catholic Church and are admitted at any time throughout the year. Normally, the Easter Vigil is preserved for the Unbaptized.

IV. Period of Mystagogy

Mystagogy means entering more deeply into the mysteries. After the person is initiated at the Vigil, another period of formation and education continues in the period of the postbaptismal catechesis. This period continues at least until Pentecost and often longer. In reality Mystagogy continues throughout the life of the Christian. During the RCIA Period of Mystagogy, the newly baptized members reflect on their experiences at the Easter Vigil and delve deeper into the Scriptures, experience the grace of the sacraments, and live the teachings of the Catholic Church. In addition they reflect on how they will serve Christ and help in the Church’s mission and outreach activities.

Bishop Knestout encourages anyone aware of sexual abuse of minors on the part of clergy or staff of our diocese to notify civil authorities, call the Attorney General’s Clergy Abuse Hotline at 1-833-454-9064 and reach out to the Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator, Jennifer Sloan at 1-877-887-9603.