Immaculate Conception Church - Marrero - Louisiana

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Becoming A Catholic

Becoming Catholic

What is RCIA?

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the normal way in which adults and children at the age of reason (7 years) become full, active, participating members of the Catholic Church. The program is designed for those who are not Catholic and would like the opportunity to learn more about the faith. It is also open for Catholics who simply want to continue their faith journey. Through this process, one is given the opportunity to develop a fuller understanding of the Catholic Faith, fellowship with other Christians, and education in Scripture and prayer.


What are the steps to becoming Catholic?

First Step: Period of Inquiry

During this time, inquirers explore the idea of becoming Catholic Christians. They raise questions about the Catholic Faith and Life, and connect their own lives to God's will for them.

How Long?  The Period of Inquiry is offered several times a year and lasts 6-9 weeks.

Second Step: Catechumenate (time of learning)

Some inquirers decide to commit themselves and continue the initiation journey. Inquirers who have not been baptized enter through a ceremony called the Rite of Acceptance Into the Order of Catechumens. They publicly declare their faith, and the Church symbolically claims them for Christ by signing them with the cross. They are now called Catechumens (which means "one who is learning"). Those who are already baptized Christians seeking to become Catholic enter the Rite of Welcoming and are called Candidates for Full Communion. From this point, a sponsor is given to each Catechumen and Candidate who supports him/her in the journey. They all participate in the liturgies and meet weekly for study on Sundays. Adults involved in RCIA are blessed and dismissed each week after the homily to reflect on the Scripture readings they have heard. Following Mass, they stay for a time to learn about the teachings of the Church as passed down to us from the Apostles. These sessions are open to all adults.

How Long?   The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has stated that this period is to last at least one year for Catechumens, and at least 6 to 9 months for a Candidate.

Third Step: Period of Purification and Enlightenment

During the season of Lent, Candidates and Catechumens take this opportunity by means of prayer to reflect deeply on their lives, the effects of personal sin, and ways to grow in personal holiness. When Catechumens and Candidates discern, with the help of sponsors and the RCIA team, that God is calling them to be in full communion with the Catholic Faith, they end their time of learning the faith and begin their time of living the faith. Catechumens enter the Rite of Election because they have been chosen to be a Christian disciple. Candidates undergo the Rite of the Call to Continuing Conversion.

How long?   This period is a time of intense pray lasting six weeks.

Fourth Step: Initiation and Mystagogia

The Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday is the primary celebration of the Lord's resurrection and is the occasion for the celebration of Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation with those who have prepared for so long. Catechumens are given the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist). The newly initiated are called Neophytes as they are the "new beings" in the faith. At the same time, Candidates are brought into full communion through the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist. These are celebrated by the Bishop or someone designated by him.

The period of Mystagogia is a time for all to "study the mysteries" of the Sacraments just received, reflecting on the significance in their lives, and participate in them fully by seeking out their place in the parish community.

How Long?   The new Catholics continue to meet weekly during the Easter Season. The journey of faith lasts a lifetime.



How do I get started?

If you are interested in learning more about the Roman Catholic Christian Faith, you are welcome to speak with a RCIA Team Member or attend our RCIA General Sessions, 


For more information, contact the Religious Education Office @ 504-341-9516


Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: If I was Baptized in another Christian faith, and I'm considering becoming Catholic, do I get "re-baptized?"

A: "We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins" (Nicene Creed). Baptism imprints on the soul an indelible mark which consecrates the person for Christian worship and unites him to Christ. Given the special nature of Baptism, it cannot be repeated. (CCC1272) A baptized non-Catholic would attend all steps of Christian Initiation.

Q: I am Catholic, but I did not receive Confirmation as a youth. Should I attend RCIA?

A: At ICP, the Sacrament of Confirmation is offered to those who have reached their 11th grade school year and older. In this case, you would be taken through a special interview process with one of the RCIA coordinators in order to asses your faith formation. Accordingly, you would begin the steps appropriate to your faith formation.

 Immaculate Conception Church, 4401 7th Street, Marrero, Louisiana