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RCIA: Joining the Catholic Church

Rite of Christian Initiation - Contact

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is the process by which adults and children of catechetical age become initiated into the Christian Catholic faith, receiving the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and eucharist, and going forward to live the Christian life.

If you are considering becoming Catholic, or know of someone who is interested, or want more information, please call your nearest Catholic parish. You may also call 
Michelle Sieben at 306-358-2057, Diocesan Coordinator of Christian Initiation.

In the diocese of Saskatoon, the office of Christian Initiation and Catechetics provides resources and direction to parishes in implementing the RCIA process. For information about RCIA resources contact the Catholic Pastoral Centre, 242-1500, or toll free 1-877-661-5005 or e-mail Elan Ehresman at cic.elan [at] saskatoonrcdiocese.com, Lynda Statchuk at cic.lynda [at] saskatoonrcdiocese.com, or Michelle Sieben at cic.michelle [at] saskatoonrcdiocese.com.

How does a person become Catholic?

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (commonly known as the RCIA) is the normal way in which adults become full, active, participating members of the Catholic Church.

People who go through this RCIA process may be unbaptized, or may have already been baptized in another Christian Church, or may be baptized Catholic but have not received the sacraments of Eucharist or Confirmation.

The process leading to full initiation follows four steps adapted to the particular needs and concerns of those to be initiated. The initiation process help adults to grow in their relationship with God, become familiar with Catholic teachings and practices, and get involved in service within the parish or the wider community.

How someone comes to consider joining the Catholic Church is unique to each individual. Years of marriage to a Catholic spouse, conversation with a Catholic friend or coworker, something written or viewed in the media, questions from one’s children, a crisis, a search for meaning in life - any of these can lead someone to explore the possibility of becoming Catholic.

If you are considering becoming Catholic, or know of someone who is interested, or wish more information, please call your nearest Catholic parish. You may also call 
Michelle Sieben at 306-358-2057, Diocesan Coordinator of Christian Initiation.

Christian Initiation of Children

Has your child missed the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation or Eucharist?

Children who were not baptized as infants are initiated into the Catholic Church through a process called the Rite of Christian Initiation. Children who are baptized but have missed Confirmation or First Eucharist for whatever reason, are also prepared through this process. Children spend a minimum of one year in the initiation process, preparing through prayer, scripture, catechesis and ritual. Parental involvement and regular attendance at Sunday liturgies are necessary. The process leads to initiation into the church through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil.

For more information, please call your nearest Catholic parish or Michelle Sieben at 306-358-2057, Diocesan Coordinator of Christian Initiation.

The Ministry of Sponsor

In reaching out to those who have expressed a desire to become Catholic, the church wishes to share its tradition, its life, its values, its prayers, its apostolic work. Because so much is involved, it takes quite a while to pass on these traditions. As cradle Catholics, many of us take all this for granted. The Christian Initiation process calls for each inquirer to have a sponsor. Sponsors are active members of the parish community who serve as companions to the inquirers.

What is involved in being a sponsor for someone who is being initiated into the Catholic Church? You are paired up with an inquirer and attend weekly sessions with that person. You extend, in a personal way, the parish community’s welcome and support. The joy and faith, the personal stories, struggles, and insights of new members will renew your own faith and sense of belonging to the church. As you share some of your own life and faith, you will uncover for yourself new dimensions of being a Catholic Christian.

The following are comments from sponsors:

“Initially I joined RCIA as a sponsor to learn more about being a Catholic myself. I did learn a lot about being a Catholic but it has been much more. It has forced me to come to grips with where I am with God. What do I want, where do I want and need to go?”

“I’ve truly marveled how our group at the beginning was a collection of strangers and how we have grown together to form a warm caring community. We have learned to trust, to laugh, to cry, to share our innermost pains, to experience Jesus’ peace and grace.”

“Witnessing and experiencing the RCIA process has immersed me in the church in a way I had never experienced before. Group discussions were a highlight- listening to other people’s stories and sharing my own reinforced the community of the church. Observing and participating in the rites, scrutinies, and Easter Vigil has made me reflect on what I have grown up with. I see the church with new eyes now, being thankful for the faith we share.”

“The Easter Vigil was very powerful; to hear every word, to take in every gesture, to see the emotions, to see the grace of God in the faces of the catechumens- all of this was very life-giving to me.”

Parishes are always looking for sponsors. The ideal is to have a large sponsor pool so that inquirers can be matched with someone of similar age, interests and life circumstances. Consider volunteering for the ministry of sponsor in your parish!

Steps in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)

The RCIA process has several distinct stages. It takes at least a year, and sometimes more, depending on the individual's faith journey

  • Inquiry: the initial period before you decide to enter the Catholic Church. You’re asking questions and checking it out, but aren’t yet ready to commit.
  • Catechumenate: those who decide to enter the Church and are being trained for a life in Christ are called catechumens, an ancient name from the early Church. In this stage, you’re developing your faith and are being “catechized” – learning catechism, or the basic points about Catholic faith and life.
  • Purification and preparation: The Church helps you focus and intensify your faith as you prepare to commit your life to Christ and be received into the Church at Easter. Catechumens go through a beautiful series of Gospel-based meditations and liturgical celebrations (rites and scrutinies) during Lent, which is the time frame of this period.
  • Initiation itself, the culmination of the whole process! People are received into the Church during the Easter Vigil Mass, where they receive the sacraments of initiation: baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist. 
  • Mystagogy: after reception into the Church at Easter, this period lets you reflect and learn more about the mysteries of the Mass and the Sacraments that you now participate in fully.
If someone baptized in another Christian tradition wants to become Catholic, they typically go through a process of learning more about the Catholic faith as baptized "candidates" which usually means that they also journey through the year-long RCIA program as well -- but they do not go through all of the same "rites" as the catechumens who are journeying toward baptism. Candidates that are already baptized "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" are not re-baptized. Instead, they make a profession of faith (usually at the Easter Vigil Mass) and receive the sacraments of confirmation and first Eucharist to come into full communion with the Catholic Church.
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Contact your local Catholic parish for more information or call Michelle Sieben, Diocesan Coordinator of Christian Initiation, at 306-358-2057or email cic.michelle [at] saskatoonrcdiocese.com

Online Resource:

Team RCIA - http://teamrcia.com

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