Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults -FAQ

RCIA – Frequently Asked Questions


What is RCIA?

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is a restoration of an ancient process for incorporating unbaptized persons into Jesus Christ through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. The process was restored after the Second Vatican Council, but did not become widely available in theUnited States until late in the 1980s. The local Catholic bishop determines how RCIA will be administered in the parishes under his care. For more information, check out the page entitled “What is RCIA?”

Who needs to attend RCIA?

People who have not received the sacrament of Baptism must attend RCIA for an extended period — ideally, a year, and preferably longer. The length of the process depends greatly on your readiness for the reception of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.

I’m already baptized in another denomination. Do I need to attend RCIA?

That depends. The Catholic Church doesn’t rebaptize people who are already baptized. If you are baptized but never received any instruction in the faith, you should receive instruction now and finish any sacraments you didn’t complete. We strongly recommend RCIA, even if you have been well instructed in another faith tradition, since you will need to learn how the beliefs and practices you grew up with differ from the beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church. If you are a baptized and confirmed Catholic returning to the practice of the faith, you should talk to the pastor of the parish about how to proceed. We recommend that Catholics who have been away from the Church for many years (say, 10 or more) go through RCIA for the instruction.

I think I was baptized, but am not sure. What kind of information do I need to join RCIA?

If your church or congregation kept records, you’ll need to obtain a copy of your baptismal record — a certificate or a letter from the pastor there. Because locating records can be difficult or time-consuming, you should try to obtain these records as early in the process as possible. We must see these records to confirm your baptismal status before you’re received into the Church. If your church or congregation did not keep records or no longer exists, we can make other arrangements. Please contact a member of the St. Joachim's parish staff.

I’ve been divorced but am not remarried. Can I become Catholic?

Certainly. Unless you plan to marry, you do not need to obtain an annulment.

I’ve been divorced and am remarried, and my spouse is divorced and remarried. Can I become Catholic?

You and your current spouse need to begin the annulment process, and you should begin it as soon as possible even if your spouse is not considering entry into the Church. Please contact the parish staff for information on how to proceed. Of course, you can attend RCIA instructions while the annulment process is ongoing. But reception into the Church has to wait until the annulment process has been completed.