What Is The RCIA ?

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is the means of welcoming newcomers into the Catholic Church.

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults was introduced by the Church in 1972, but goes back to the practice of the first Christians. A person approaches someone in the parish, often the priest and tells them they are thinking of becoming a Catholic, or that they have been baptised as a Catholic but have missed out on Confirmation and Eucharist.

What happens then?

A companion group is formed which will meet with the enquirer on behalf of the parish and share their faith journey until they are baptised, and beyond. This can take from a few months to a year or two.

Who is in the Companion Group?

People of faith, with open and friendly personalities. People who don’t necessarily have all the answers but who are willing to journey in faith with the enquirer and are willing to learn and grow in faith themselves.

How does it work in the Parish?

  • weekly meetings accompanied by people of faith.
  • parish celebrations (rites) at each step.
  • We recognise God’s presence in our lives.
  • We come to know the Word of God through the Sunday Lectionary
  • We come to know the teaching of the Church.
  • We move more deeply into the life and faith of the parish

What are the Stages of the RCIA?

  • …Welcome and enquiry: Enquiry Period.
  • …Deeper commitment and learning: Catechumenate.
  • …Decision and Spiritual Preparation during Lent: Purification and Enlightenment.
  • …Celebration of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil.
  • …Period of celebration and deepening: Mystagogia.
  • …Lifetime of faith as members of the Church.

    How does RCIA fit in with Diocesan Renewal?

    RCIA is part of the response to the Pilgrim Stepsdiocesan plan especially in the areas of faith development and liturgy. Pilgrim Steps describes the need for evangelisation which emerged from the consultation process:

    ‘There is a spiritual hunger today in our world and in our diocese… The Church can and should address this hunger by representing the Good News in the language of our times…’

    It is hoped that every parish will have an RCIA companion group, and that as more and more people turn to the Church we will be ready to welcome them.

    RCIA in Cork and Ross

    Steering group: Fr. Declan Mansfield, Carol Dorgan, Fr. Cormac Breathnach SMA, Marian Mortell, Jestina Ganda, Amanda Landzaad.

    Training Team: Fr. Declan Mansfield, Carol Dorgan, Marian Mortell, and Jes Ganda.


  • -Annual six-night training programme for parish teams.
  • -Ongoing support for parish groups:
        Annual retreat for candidates.
        Eastertide gathering.
      Visits and resources.
  • -Support and information for priests.
  • -Support for the RCIA process with young people.
  • -Development of website pages for searchers and groups.
  • -Support for parishes as communities of evangelisation.
  • -Diocesan information evenings.

‘ … the task of evangelising all people constitutes the essential mission of the Church. Evangelising is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church, her deepest identity. (Evangelii Nuntiandi: 14)
Address: Parish Pastoral Development Office, Parochial House, Ballyphehane, Cork.

PDF Resources

Priest’s Role
Choosing Godparents
RCIA Rites for Lent
RCIA Catechesis for Lent
Sunday Readings (Lent)