The Stages of RCIA

Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults

RCIA stage 1: Just Looking

In the inquiry stage, you’re just finding out about Jesus, Christianity, and the Catholic Church. Your main task here is to explore and develop your faith enough so you can make an informed initial decision about entering the Catholic Church. The final decision won’t come for a long time, when you actually enter the Church at Easter and receive the sacraments of initiation.

The RCIA inquiry stage page has lots of detailed guidance for you during this stage. Even if you’re past the inquirer stage, you should still read that section to make sure you’ve covered the right ground. You’ll need to rely on that foundation later!

RCIA stage 2: Learning about the Faith

In the catechumenate, your faith has begun to develop. Now you need to learn and grow more. You focus on catechesis in this stage: learning about the faith, how to live as a Christian, and developing your interior life.

Your job now is to come into closer contact with the Living God and learn more about the Catholic Faith.

RCIA stage 3: Getting ready for rebirth!

This period of purification and enlightenment is the final stage before receiving the Easter sacraments of initiation into the Church: baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist. (Those already baptized with a valid baptism in another Christian church aren’t baptized again.)

This stage of intense reflection calls you to deeper conversion in preparation for your renewal at Easter. This is what the season of Lent is for, but it has a special intensity for you this year as you’re entering the Church and receiving the sacraments of initiation. The Church uses three profound and beautiful passages from the Gospel of John to focus this preparation effort.

RCIA stage 4: Reflecting on the mysteries of the Mass

This stage of Mystagogy during Easter is for continued reflection on the sacraments you have received at Easter, especially the Eucharist. Specific catechesis on the Mass, the Sacraments, and especially the Eucharist are the focus of this stage. The Mass and the Eucharist are the “source and summit” of the Christian life in the Catholic Church, and this period is designed to help you understand, appreciate, and live more deeply this center of Catholicism.

That’s a good overview of the Catholic RCIA stages, with more than enough supplemental information to think about for a while! Remember that the Catholic RCIA stages are a good model of basic faith development, so you can learn a lot from them even if you’re not in the RCIA process.