Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA)

Classes are forming for this fall and start on September 5th!

Contact Deacon Neil Crispo, Director of Adult Formation at Crispo@sjy.org or 717-755-7503, ext 227 to schedule an appointment to meet with him.


Are you interested in becoming Catholic or completing your Sacraments of Initiation (Eucharist and/or Confirmation)? 

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is a journey of faith. It is the process through which adults prepare to become fully initiated members of the Catholic Church. The roots of the RCIA process can be traced back to the ancient early days of the Church. The RCIA as we know it today was revised and mandated for use in the Church following the Second Vatican Council. 


Who can be part of this journey?

  • Someone who has never been baptized.
  • Someone who has been baptized in another faith tradition, and who wishes to join the Catholic faith.
  • Someone who has been baptized a Catholic, but has not received the Sacraments of Holy Communion and/or Confirmation.
  • Fully initiated members of the Catholic Church are also encouraged to participate as sponsors or to further their own knowledge and understanding of Church teachings. 


What is involved in the RCIA process?

The RCIA process consists or four phases or steps which are punctuated by public liturgical Rites as follows:

Phase 1: Period of Inquiry

  • The length of this phase is unique to each individual. 
  • It is a time for asking questions. 
  • It is a time to intensely examine one’s personal relationship with God.
  • The Inquiry Period ends when the inquirer becomes firm in the desire for initiation and for the study of Catholic teachings and practices. 

Phase 2: Period of Catechumenate

  • For the Unbaptized (called “Catechumens”), this period begins with the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens.
  • For the Baptized (called “Candidates”), this period begins with the Rite of Welcoming.
  • This is a time of learning the teachings of the Church and beginning to accept Catholic teachings and practices. 
  • Sponsors accompany Catechumens and Candidates on their journey. 
  • The length of the Catechumenate Phase can vary from person to person. 
  • The period of Catechumenate for the Unbaptized ends when the catechumen discerns that God is calling them to receive the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist). 
  • The period of Catechumenate for the Baptized ends when candidates discern that God is calling them to make a Profession of Faith in the Catholic Church and receive the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist. 

Phase 3: Period of Purification and Enlightenment  

  • This period begins with the Rite of Election for Catechumens; the Call to Continuing Conversion for Candidates.
  • Catechumens are now called the “Elect”; Candidates continue to be called “Candidates”.
  • This is a time of intense preparation during Lent to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus at Easter and to receive the Sacraments of Initiation. 

Phase 4: Period of Mystagogy

  • This period begins with the Catechumens’ reception of the Sacraments of Initiation usually during the Easter Vigil. (Candidates may be received into the Church at any time of the year.)
  • This is a time of reflection on the commitment made to the Lord, the Church, and the faith community. 
  • This is a time of finding a place in the community and getting involved. 

What is the length of time that one is part of the RCIA? 

The RCIA is not a lock-step process. Therefore, there is no specific length of time. One becomes a member when he or she is ready to accept God’s call and to take on the responsibility of membership.  Formal formation classes, however, typically run from the beginning of August, through Pentecost (50 days after Easter). 


Who can be a Sponsor? What is required of a sponsor? 

Any fully initiated, practicing Catholic, who is at least 16 years of age can be a sponsor. A sponsor is a companion to the Catechumen/Candidate on their faith journey. It is expected that sponsors accompany the person to the weekly RCIA sessions and to support them during the Rites. 


When are RCIA sessions held? 

RCIA sessions are held every Wednesday evening from 7:00-9:00 PM. For persons who desire to participate in the process and who find it absolutely impossible to make Wednesday evening sessions, the RCIA team will make special arrangements. 


Who is on the RCIA Team? 

The RCIA team (“Catechists”) are faith-filled members of the parish who volunteer to share their faith with those persons who desire to become members. 


What about children? 

With the permission of their parents, children over the age of seven enter into the RCIA Adapted for Children (otherwise known as RCIC). For children, it is usually a two-year process. The RCIC meets on Monday evenings from 6:30-7:45 PM. The RCIC team consists of two catechists who stay with the children through the two-year process.   


How do I get started? 

  1. Contact Deacon Neil Crispo, Director of Adult Formation at Crispo@sjy.org or 717-755-7503, ext 227 to schedule an appointment to meet with him. Deacon Neil will ask you about your faith journey and what leads you to this interest in the RCIA.  He will also help you discern when to begin, how long it may take, and how he and the Team will best be able to suit your individual needs. 
  2. Complete an RCIA Inquirer Registration Form.  Deacon Neil will provide and guide you through completing this form when you meet. 
  3. A member of the Team will call to clarify the information you provided on the Inquirer Registration Form and provide you with additional details. 
  4. If you have already been baptized (in the Catholic Church or in a different Christian Faith Tradition), you will need to obtain an original copy of your Baptismal Certificate.  This can typically be done by contacting the secretary of the church where you were baptized.        

•  St. Joseph Parish, York  •  2935 Kingston Road  •  York, Pennsylvania  •  17402  • 

•  Phone: (717) 755-7503  •  Fax: (717) 757-1900  •  SJC@sjy.org •

Part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg