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Christian Initiation

The Office of Christian Initiation assists the Bishop in the implementation of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults – the Roman Catholic Church’s process of welcoming adults through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist.

Support and resources are provided to pastors, parish directors, and teams. Education classes and formation workshops are offered in conjunction with the ministries of Adult Enrichment, Lay Ecclesial Ministry, Liturgy, Religious Education, and the Tribunal.

The Office coordinates three annual diocesan celebrations: The Rite of Election (celebrated at both Cathedrals on the 1st Sunday of Lent); Passion Sunday Retreat and Anointing Services; and the Neophyte Gathering of Thanksgiving.

Jeanne Thompson

Coordinator of Christian Initiation/Sacramental Preparation

Steps of Christian Initiation

1) Inquiry

The initial period before an individual decides to enter the Catholic Church. Individuals ask questions and observe, but aren’t yet ready to commit.

2) Catechumenate

Those who decide to enter the Church and begin training for a life in Christ are called catechumens, an ancient name from the early Church. In this stage, individuals are developing their faith and are being “catechized” – learning catechism, the basic points about Catholic faith and life.

3) Purification and Enlightenment

During Lent, the Church helps individuals focus and intensify their faith as they prepare to commit their lives to Christ, and be received into the Catholic Church at Easter. In the RCIA process, this involves a beautiful series of Gospel-based meditations during Lent, which is the time frame of this period.

4) Celebration of the Sacraments

The culmination of the RCIA process. Candidates are received into the Church during the Easter Vigil Mass, where they receive the sacraments of initiation – Baptism, Confirmation, and Most Holy Eucharist.

If a candidate has already been baptized, they won’t be baptized again.

5) Mystagogy

After receiving the sacraments at Easter, the ongoing celebration begins. This is a period of reflection and learning more about the mysteries of the Mass and the Sacraments that those initiated now fully participate in as members of the Catholic Church.
“I always had in my mind that I didn’t need any more than what I was getting. I was fine to sit there. I was at peace with myself. I was at peace with God. But once it finally happened, the feeling was just exuberance – something beyond what I could have imagined.” ~Tracy Smith, Candidate for Initiation
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