Outline for the Right of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)
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.
First Step: Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens
This is the liturgical rite, usually celebrated on some annual date or dates, 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.
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; clebtrations fo the Word and prayers of exorcism and blessing are meant to assist the process.
Second Step: Election or Enrollment of Names
This is the liturgical right, usually celebrated on teh 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.
Period of Purification and Enlightenment
This is the time immediately preceding the elects’ initiation, usually the Lenten season preceding the celebration of this initiation at the Easter Vigil; it is a time of reflection, intensely centered on conversion, marked by celebration of the scrutinies and presentations and of the preparation rites on Holy Saturday.
Third Step: Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation
This is the liturgical rite, usually integrated into the Easter Vigil, but which the elect of initiated through Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist.
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 both penitent catechesis and particularly by participation with all the faithful in the Sunday Eucharistic celebration.