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RCIA Policy

POLICY

Each parish of the Diocese of San Bernardino will implement the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) as mandated by the Bishops of the United States in 1988. Particular attention must be given to the “National Standards for the Catechumenate”, as approved for use in the United States. The RCIA process is the ordinary means by which an adult is baptized. Christians who seek full communion of the Catholic Church receive the sacraments of Initiation: Confirmation and Eucharist (Code of Canon Law 851, 865). "Since children who have reached the use of reason are considered, for purposes of Christian Initiation, to be adults (CCL 852:1), their formation should follow the general pattern of the ordinary catechumenate as far as possible, with the appropriate adaptations permitted by the ritual." The status of children and youth as catechumens should not be compromised or confused. There is no separate rite of initiation of Children (RCIA #252, #254, National Statutes #18, 19).

IMPLEMENTATION

1. The process of the RCIA includes four periods of evangelization and catechesis marked by three liturgical rites. The first period, the PreCatechumenate, is a time of inquiry on the part of participants. The second period, the Catechumenate,begins with the liturgical celebration of the Rite of Acceptance followed by a time of catechesis. The length of both periods varies as each individual’s journey is discerned with the parish community. The norm for the duration of the period of the Catechumenate is one year.

2. An intense period precedes the final steps of the process, called Purification and Enlightenment. This third period is marked by the liturgical celebration of the Rite of Election. The reception into the Church community is celebrated with the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil. These sacraments mark the beginning of the final period of the process calledMystagogia, a time for reflection on the Sacraments of Initiation, deepening of the Christian experience, and entering into the life of the Christian community.

For further information about the implementation and the process of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults in the parish, please refer to the complete text of the rite, approved for use in the dioceses of the United States. Pastoral concerns regarding formation and catechesis can be addressed to the Office of Catechetical Ministry at (909) 475-5452. Liturgical concerns regarding the rites may be addressed to the Office of Worship.