RCIA Discernment Outline

Period of Inquiry

A time of no fixed duration for inquiry and introduction to Gospel values, an opportunity for the beginnings of faith and conversion.  A time for checking it out and asking questions but you are not yet ready to commit.

I. Rite of Acceptance
A rite during mass that marks the beginning of the catechumenate.  The candidates express their intention to respond to God’s call to follow the way of Christ.  The Church accepts the candidates and the sponsors affirm their intention to journey with them.

Period of the Catechumenate

Catechumens is an ancient name from the early church for those who have decided to enter the church and who are preparing for the sacraments of initiation.  Catechumens have certain rights and privileges distinct from inquirers.  This is a time to nurture the catechumens faith and conversion.  During this period the catechumens are learning the basic faith and teachings of the Church’s faith and life.

II. Rite of Election
This liturgical rite is usually celebrated on the First Sunday of Lent.  The Church  affirms the catechumens intent and enrolls them into the elect.  Those going through the process express their will to receive the sacraments

Period of Purification and Enlightenment

During Lent the elect prepare for initiation at Easter.  This is a time to focus and intensify your faith as you prepare to commit your life to Christ.  This period includes a series of Gospel-based meditations and the celebration of the scrutinies.

III. Rite of Initiation
At the Easter vigil the elect are initiated through baptism, confirmation, and the Eucharist.  Candidates receive confirmation and Eucharist and make a profession of faith if appropriate.  This is the cumulating rite of the entire process where you fully enter the Church.

Period of Mystagogy

After initiation, the newly initiated reflect and learn more about the mysteries of the Mass and the Sacraments that you now participate in fully.