Catholic Speak

Thinking of becoming Catholic? Sign up soon in a parish near you

by Olivia Martin

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A person born to Catholic parents and baptized into the faith as an infant is sometimes called a “cradle Catholic.”

But how does someone join the Catholic Church as an adult?

Kimberly Zubillaga, consultant for the archdiocesan office of evangelization, sat down with The Leaven to explain how adults go about becoming Catholic.

The program is called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, or RCIA, for short.

Q. Where does someone who wants to become Catholic start?

A. The first step is to find the closest parish and call the office. This is as simple as asking a Catholic friend or family member for his or her parish’s phone number or looking up a Roman Catholic parish online. But the important thing is picking up the phone and asking about RCIA.

Q. What is RCIA?

A. RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) is the process by which adults are received into the Catholic Church.

Q. Who is RCIA for?

RCIA is for:

• Any non-Catholic adult interested in becoming Catholic

• Any adult who has been baptized Catholic who has not made his first Communion or who hasn’t received the sacrament of confirmation.

• Any Catholic adult seeking to deepen her faith.

Q. Is RCIA something you undertake on your own?

A. No, RCIA is fundamentally undertaken in community — a community comprised of people with questions about the church; Catholic sponsors who journey alongside them; and catechists who teach the faith. The community aspect is fundamental because it educates the enquirer to the nature of the church: a people who stay together because Christ is present among them.

RCIA participants meet regularly and receive formation and education that introduces them to the Scriptures and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

Q. How often does RCIA meet?

A. It varies by parish. Most RCIA groups meet weekly. Contact your parish for details about the meetings and how to enroll.

Q. What if I want to begin RCIA but I don’t know any Catholics who could be my sponsor?

A. This happens all the time. Contact your parish and they will help you find someone who can walk with you.

Q. When does RCIA start?

A. Typically, RCIA classes begin meeting in September or October. Some parishes can accommodate late joiners; others cannot. Contact your parish for more information.

Q. Do I have to know for sure I want to become Catholic to start RCIA?

A. No, and you can change your mind at any time during the process. 

Q. If I do decide to become Catholic, when do I become one?

A. RCIA participants “become” Catholic (or enter into full communion with the Catholic Church) at the Easter Vigil, at which time they receive all the sacraments of initiation (baptism, Eucharist, confirmation), as appropriate.

Q. How much does RCIA cost?

There is no cost to participate in RCIA.

About the author

Olivia Martin

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