After the Second Vatican Council, the Church restored the order of the Catechumenate in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). This program outlines the steps for the formation of catechumens, bringing their conversion to the faith to a greater maturity. It also helps them respond more deeply to God's gracious initiative in their lives and prepares them for union with the Church community.
The RCIA process is designed to form them into the fullness of the Christian life and to become disciples of Jesus, their teacher. This includes an initiation into the mystery of salvation, the practice of faith, hope, and love, and other virtues in a succession of liturgical rites.
Persons baptized into another Christian church and now seeking full communion with the Catholic Church are also welcomed to participate along with catechumens in the RCIA in the process of learning about the Catholic faith and being formed in that faith. They bring to the process of preparation their prior experience of Christian life and prayer.
For a baptized Christian, reception into full communion with the Catholic Church involves reception of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation and then a Profession of Faith followed by the celebration of Confirmation and the Eucharist.
Visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Web site for more information:
THE FOUR STAGES OF RCIA: