Becoming Catholic

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)


The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is a process by which adults grow in relationship with Jesus Christ, understanding of the teachings and practices of the Catholic faith, and involvement in the life of the Church. If you feel that Jesus is calling you into a deeper relationship with him within the context of a community in which you can grow in and express your faith as a follower of Christ, St. Robert of Newminster’s Initiation Team invites you to join us.

Because the process of the RCIA depends on the needs of the person, individuals should contact Teri Burns, Pastoral Associate for Faith Formation, 616-676-9111 ext 115, to begin the process.

Generally, the stages of the RCIA are:

 PERIOD OF EVANGELIZATION AND PRECATECHUMENATE – This is a time, of no fixed duration or structure, for inquiry and introduction to Gospel values, an opportunity for the beginnings of faith. This period typically begins long before a person contacts the parish. St. Robert of Newminster offers persons in this stage a time to gather together to share their faith stories, grow in relationship with Jesus Christ, and learn more about the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church.
Group sessions are held on Mondays, 6:30 – 8 p.m., October 5 – December 21, 2015
ACCEPTANCE INTO THE ORDER OF CATECHUMENS – This is the liturgical rite marking the beginning of the catechumenate proper, as the candidates express and the Church accepts their intention to respond to God’s call to follow the way of Christ. St. Robert of Newminster will celebrate this rite on Sunday, January 10, 2016, at the 11:00 a.m. Mass.

 PERIOD OF THE CATECHUMENATE – This is the time, in duration corresponding to the progress of the individual, for the nurturing and growth of the catechumens’ faith and conversion to God; celebrations of the word and prayers of blessing are meant to assist the process. Through group gatherings, St. Robert of Newminster offers catechumens opportunities to reflect more deeply on the Sunday Scriptures, delve more deeply into the foundational Church teachings, and experience the life of the faith community.
Dismissals – 11 a.m. Mass, Sundays, January 10 – February 7, 2016
Group Learning Sessions – 6:30 – 8 p.m., Mondays, January 4 – February 8, 2016

ENROLLMENT OF NAMES AND RITE OF ELECTION – This is the liturgical rite, usually celebrated on the First Sunday of Lent, by which the Church formally ratifies the catechumens’ readiness for the sacraments of initiation and the catechumens, now the elect, express the will to receive these sacraments. St. Robert of Newminster will celebrate the Rite of Sending on Sunday, 14, 2016, at the 11:00 a.m. Mass. The elect will then be welcomed by Bishop Walkowiak in the Rite of Election at the Cathedral of St. Andrew (date and time TBA).

PERIOD OF PURIFICATION AND ENLIGHTENMENT – This is the time immediately preceding the elects’ initiation, usually the season of Lent preceding the celebration of the sacraments initiation at the Easter Vigil; it is a time of reflection, intensely centered on conversion, marked by celebration of preparation rites.

Dismissals continue – 11 a.m. Mass, Sundays, February 14 – March 20, 2016
Group Preparation Sessions – 6:30 – 8 p.m., Mondays, February 15 – March 21, 2016

 CELEBRATION OF THE SACRAMENTS OF INITIATION – This is the liturgical rite by which the elect are initiated through Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist. This rite will be celebrated during the Easter Vigil on Saturday, March 26, 2016.

 PERIOD OF POSTBAPTISMAL CATECHESIS OR MYSTAGOGY – This is the time, usually the Easter season, following the celebration of initiation, during which the newly initiated experience being fully a part of the Christian community by means of pertinent catechesis and particularly by participation with all the faithful in the Sunday Eucharistic celebration. The newly initiated are invited to attend a couple of group sessions at 10:00 a.m. on Sundays, April 3 & 10, along with participation in the Sunday 11:00 a.m. Mass throughout the Easter season, which continues through Pentecost (May 15, 2016).



Contact:  Teri Burns, Pastoral Associate for Faith Formation, 616-676-9111 ext 115

Preparation to celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism is available for children age 5 and older. Preparation for children who have passed the traditional age of celebrating the First Sacraments of Holy Communion and/or Reconciliation (grade 2) includes participation in Be My Disciples faith formation sessions along with specific sacrament preparation sessions on Sundays, 10 – 11 a.m., November 8 & 15 (for Reconciliation) and February 28 & March 6 (for Communion.) Preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation is available for high school youth.