Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults

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The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is a program used in the Roman Catholic Church to prepare adults for the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist. The program was implemented in 1972 by Pope Paul VI.[1] The program varies from parish to parish, but is generally comprised of regular meetings by active church members with unbaptized and/or unconfirmed church-goers, along with rites performed in mass during Lent.

The meetings can range from a Bible-study to discussion of the weekly mass to simply reading the Catechism of the Church. They are normally led by laymen, but sometimes by priests and are generally aimed at teaching the unconfirmed what it means to be Catholic.

The rites performed during mass before Lent can include a welcoming of those seeking Confirmation (called candidates), and a presentation of a copy of the Bible to the candidates. The rites performed during Lent are called Scrutinies, which are similar to exorcisms. A Scrutiny is aimed not at purging evil from the candidates, but more at inviting the Holy Spirit to inspire their hearts and make them ready for Confirmation and Eucharist. At the end of Lent, the unbaptized are baptized (often at the Easter Vigil) and after Easter, the candidates are confirmed and receive Holy Communion (the Eucharist).


  1. The RCIA: Transforming the Church (1989, 1997) by Thomas H. Morris