RCIA Process: Periods & Rites

Learn about the RCIA process, periods and rites for:

The Unbaptized Adult 

The RCIA process consists of four periods and three major Rites, or sacred ceremonies, through which ubaptized adults are gradually drawn into the faith and life of the Catholic Church. In a way, the periods and Rites resemble the steps leading up to and following marriage. This is fitting since Jesus Christ is the divine Bridegroom, and all are invited through the RCIA to belong to his Bride, the Catholic Church.

I. Period of Evangelization & Precatechumate 

i. First Step or Major Rite: Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens 

II. Period of the Catechumenate 

Minor Rites in the Catechumenate

    • Celebrations of the Word of God
    • Minor Exorcisms
    • Prayers of Blessing
    • Optional: Anointings and anticipated Presentations of the Creed and Lord’s Prayer (normally take place in the next period)

ii. Second Step or Major Rite: Election or Enrollment of Names 

III. Period of Purification & Enlightenment 

Minor Rites in the Period of Purification & Enlightenment

    • Scrutinies
    • Presentations of the Creed & Lord’s Prayer
    • Preparation Rites on Holy Saturday

iii. Third Step or Major Rite: Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation & Eucharist

IV. Period of Postbaptismal Catechesis or Mystagogy & the Neophyte Year

Refer to Page 14 of the RCIA Ritual Text for more information

The Baptized 

An appendix in the RCIA textbook approved for use in Canada sets out the sequence of Rites that lead to the full communion of the Catholic Church for baptized adults. See Pages 267-268 in the RCIA ritual text for more information.

  • Rite of Welcoming Candidates
    • Celebrations of God’s Word, blessings, prayers for strength
  • Rite of Calling Candidates to Lenten Renewal
    • Penitential services
    • Presentation of the Creed
    • Presentation of the Lord’s Prayer
    • Sacrament of Penance
  • Completion of initiation of baptized Catholics and/or reception into full communion for those baptized into other Christian communions


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