Adults who are not baptized or who are baptized in another Christian faith who wish to become Catholics, participate in a process called RCIA-Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.
Period of Inquiry or Pre-Catechumenate: This is a time for genuine questioning about what life can be in Christ and how the Catholic Church provides that meaning. If the inquirer discovers the beginnings of a faith experience, he/she requests entrance into the Church.
Period of Catechumenate: The Church celebrates a ritual that marks one’s formal entrance into the Church. Once a catechumenate, that person is a member of the Church, although not a fully initiated member. This Rite is celebrated at a gathering of the parish, usually Mass. Catechumens participate in a systematic catechesis of classes and experiences so they come to know life in the Church. This period of learning can last from one to several years.
Period of Enlightenment or Purification: This third period generally corresponds with the Lenten season as a more intense preparation for the initiation sacraments. During this time, the Scrutiny Rites are celebrated, petitioning for the spirit of repentance, an understanding of sin and the experience of true freedom with God. The Elect, as the candidates are now called, receive a copy of the Creed and the Our Father.
Period of Mystogogy: On-going faith formation and spiritual direction. Sometimes described as the consistent reflection of the experience of Christ over time, which leads us to consider how we are living in light of Christ’s example.