The RCIA program (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) is a process whereby those interested in learning about the Catholic faith come together on a weekly basis to learn about the scriptures and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, and at the same time, to discover where God is present in their lives.  The classes begin in September and continue through the Easter season.  For information please contact the parish office.


The process is designed for those adults (and children over the age of seven) who are:

  • Unbaptized
  • Baptized in another tradition
  • Baptized Catholic, but with no further religious training or sacraments.

The First Phase:
The Period of Inquiry (Precatechumenate)

The period of Inquiry is a time for:

  • asking questions about the Catholic faith
  • building community within the group
  • developing a trusting atmosphere.

More importantly, it is a time for:

  • examining God’s presence in our lives, both past and present
  • learning about prayer
  • fostering conversion
  • developing or improving our relationship with God
  • getting to know His church.

We read the Sunday Gospel for the week and discuss what it means to us in our lives.  We also discuss topics such as:

  • What brought you to RCIA
  • What is your image of God
  • Prayer and liturgy
  • Who is Jesus
  • Who is the Holy Spirit
  • Who is the Trinity
  • The Saints

The Second Phase:
The Catechumenate (Study) Period

The period of study (Catechumenate) is a time for:

  • “Breaking Open the Word,” or reading and discussing the Sunday Gospel
  • continuing to build community within the group
  • getting more involved in parish activities, getting to know the parish community
  • learning about the basic teachings and beliefs of the Catholic Church.

More importantly, it is a time for:

  • continuing to examine God’s presence in our lives, past and present
  • developing prayer life, entering into the communal worship of the parish
  • fostering conversion
  • developing or improving our relationship with God.

We continue to read the Sunday Gospel for the week and discuss what it means to us in our lives.  We also discuss, to name just a few, topics such as:

  • Seasons of the Church
  • The Bible
  • Mary and the Rosary
  • Who is Jesus
  • The Incarnation
  • Sin, evil and guilt
  • The Ten Commandments
  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Third Phase:
The period of Purification and Enlightenment

The Period of purification and enlightenment is a time for:

  • repentance
  • examining areas of sinfulness or weakness in our lives
  • asking God’s help in healing these areas
  • prayer, fasting and almsgiving
  • preparation for receiving the sacraments of initiation

We continue to read the Sunday Gospel for the week and discuss what it means to us in our lives.  We continue to discuss topics essential to understanding the Faith, such as:

  • the seven sacraments
  • virtues
  • the Paschal Mystery
  • the Triduum

The Fourth Phase:
The period of Mystagogia

The period of mystagogia is a time for:

  • sharing the experience of full communion with the Church
  • relating the personal experiences of the mystery encountered
  • living a sacramental life
  • living out the gospel way of life
  • becoming more involved in the parish.

We also discuss:

  • Evangelization
  • Stewardship
  • Lay Ministry

We read the Sunday Gospel during the weeks of the Easter season, including Pentecost, and discuss what it means to us in our lives.

The Rites of Christian Initiation of Adults

The Rite of Acceptance: The Rite of Acceptance is the first rite of the RCIA process.  It takes place within the context of a Sunday Mass on the First Sunday of Advent.  Those wishing to enter into the second phase of the RCIA (the Catechumenate or study phase) make a public commitment to accept the Way of the Cross.  The worshiping community, the members of our parish family, publicly welcomes these individuals and promise to support them in their ongoing journey of faith.  The candidates (baptized) and catechumens (unbaptized) are signed with the sign of the cross to remind them of their commitment, and they also receive the Word of God, to remind them that the Scriptures are the source of our faith.

The Rite of Sending: The Rite of Sending is celebrated in our parish the week before or the week of the Rite of Election, and is a sending forth rite, which symbolizes the parish sending the candidates to the cathedral the next week with our love, prayers and support.

The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion: The Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion is a celebration that is held at St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines on the First Sunday of Lent.  It is also celebrated on the same day at all Dioceses in the world.  Those wishing to be baptized come together to officially enter their names in the “Book of the Elect,” which signifies their intention to be initiated at the Easter Vigil.  Those already baptized and desiring to be received into Full Communion of the Catholic Church celebrate the Call to Continuing Conversion.  The Bishop joyfully welcomes those to be baptized as children of God, as well as, those who have already been baptized but seek full communion of the Catholic Church.

The Penitential Rite and Scrutinies: The Penitential Rite and the three Scrutinies are rites designed to help those seeking initiation into the Catholic Church to overcome their areas of spiritual weakness, and to strengthen their areas of goodness.  The parish family joins in prayer with them, asking God to purify them and help them be ready to receive the sacraments of initiation at the Easter Vigil.  The Scrutinies are designed for the unbaptized, and take place at three separate Masses in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sundays in Lent.  The Penitential Rite is designed for the Baptized, and takes place during a Mass on the 2nd Sunday in Lent.


The RCIA is a process for forming new adult members of the Catholic Community.  The RCIA process is addressed primarily to the unbaptized, to the baptized members of other traditions seeking a relationship with the Catholic Church, and to Catholics who have been baptized but have never received formal training nor confirmation and/or first Eucharist.  The process is designed for both adults (and for children over the age of seven) who are new to the Catholic faith.