Office for Catechesis (Archdiocese of Singapore)

Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA)

What is the RCIA?

The RCIA is the way the Catholic Church welcomes adults into the life of faith in Jesus Christ. This process prepares newcomers to encounter Jesus and his Church, and discern towards receiving the sacraments of Christian initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist).

The RCIA process has four distinct periods through which newcomers to Catholic faith progress:


I - Evangelization and Pre-catechumenate
At this stage you are called an inquirer because this is a time for you to ask questions, be introduced to Gospel values, and experience the beginnings of faith. When you feel that you are ready to accept the way of Christ and would like to take the next step, this period concludes with the celebration of the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens. You will then enter into the next stage.


II - Catechumenate
As a catechumen you will strengthen your faith in the tradition of the Catholic Church. In this stage you will learn the teachings of Christ and the Church, worship with other believers, and train to serve others as a Christian. When you are ready to celebrate your faith with baptism and take the next step towards initiation, your parish community will send you for the Archdiocesan celebration of the Rite of Election where the bishop will receive you and your fellow catechumens into the next stage.


III - Purification and Enlightenment
In this six-week period (usually during Lent) you will be called an elect, a specially chosen person for Christian initiation. This will be a time of spiritual reflection around the theme of conversion to Christ, and is marked by the celebration of the rites of scrutiny.


IV - Mystagogy/Postbaptismal Catechesis
After you have been fully initiated as a Christian you will be called a neophyte - a 'young' member of the Catholic community. This period, which can last from eight weeks to several months, helps to prepare you in deepening your faith that has become


How long is RCIA?
RCIA journeys have varying lengths. As a general guide, each process can last from one year to several years - it depends on you, your parish community, and the grace of God. There are people who choose to remain as inquirers and catechumens for as long as they need. If you need more time to discern your spiritual path, it is recommended that you avoid a hasty decision. The duration of the catechumenate should be long enough for you to listen and carefully respond to God's call.


How do I sign up for RCIA?

You can register for RCIA at the Catholic parish closest to where you live. Click here for the current list of parishes with RCIA.


I am part of a RCIA team, are there any courses for me?

We have several course that will be useful for your ministry in RCIA, Introduction to RCIA, for new planning team members or any one keen to find out more about RCIA and Sponsors Training, for new sponsors or those who like a refresher. We also have Catechesis Courses that will be useful for the RCIA team members and catechists.  Please click here for the upcoming courses.


Guidelines for RCIA

OFC has issued the Guidelines for RCIA to guide RCIA teams in implementing RCIA process for parishes in the Archdiocese of Singapore.  Please click here for the document.




 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you:

  • Interested in finding out more about the Catholic faith?
  • Wishing to join the Catholic Church?
  • Catholic but have not received all the Sacraments of Initiation and now wish to?
  • Looking for a meaningful journey of faith in God?
If you have answered yes to any of the questions, we welcome you and hope the FAQs will help you understand a bit more about the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process.

  

Once I join an RCIA in a parish, is it inevitable that I get baptised?
There is no obligation for you to get baptised. You are welcome to join RCIA to simply find out more about Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. The parish community will aid you in your discernment if baptism is for you.


I was baptised as a Christian in my previous church. Do I need to be baptised again as a Catholic? 

No. The Catholic Church recognises Christian baptism in certain non-Catholic churches. If your baptism is recognised as valid, you will not be re-baptised. Instead, you will join the RCIA journey as a Christian candidate seeking reception into full communion with the Catholic Church. Please inform your parish RCIA team if you have been previously baptised.


I would like my family to join the Catholic Church together. Is RCIA suitable for my children?
Many parishes only have RCIA that caters to adults, and a separate initiation process for younger children. Certain parishes have adapted the RCIA for youth (RCIY) or children (RCIC). Check with your parish RCIA co-ordinator or parish priest for  further information. If your children are below the age of seven they can be baptised immediately using the Rite of Infant Baptism, and subsequently receive religious instruction through the parish catechetical ministry.

 

I am engaged to be married to a Catholic. If I join an RCIA process will I be baptised/received into the Catholic Church in time for my wedding?

That will depend on the duration of your journey and the planned date of your wedding. It is recommended that you distinguish between preparing for initiation/reception into the Catholic Church from your preparation for marriage. The RCIA journey is not simply about gaining membership in an organisation.  However, there are certain conditions that warrant an accelerated initiation process. Please discuss this further with your parish priest together with the priest who will be presiding at your wedding.


I am a already a baptised Catholic, but have not received the sacrament of Confirmation. Is the RCIA for me? 
Confirmation preparation for adults may be merged together with the RCIA process in some parishes, or may be a separate program in others. Please check with your parish for more information.

 

I am divorced and would like to be a Catholic. What needs to be done so that I can join the Catholic Church?
The Catholic Church sees marriage as an important way God calls us to witness love. If you are currently re-married to another person, an annulment of your first marriage may be necessary. It would be best to highlight this to your parish priest or RCIA co-ordinator as early as possible so that adequate time can be given for the canonical (church law) process.


I understand that at baptism I will need a godparent.  Who can I ask?
Along your RCIA journey, you will have the opportunity to meet various Catholics. After getting to know them as friends and guides in faith, you may find one or two people in particular who would be suitable. You may ask these Catholics to be your godparents. If you already have Catholic relatives or friends who are prepared to be your godparents, that is fine too.


What do I have to pay to join the RCIA?
There is no charge for RCIA, although some parishes may ask for voluntary contributions to defray costs, printed publications, food & refreshments, and so on.