RCIA: A Process of Conversion, Catechesis and CommunityCourse Level: Advanced

Course Summary

This course is intended for leadership teams and individuals who are or will be involved in implementing the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) in their parishes.  It is suitable for experienced teams as a refresher as well as for those new to the RCIA. The content of the course will help students appreciate the character of the RCIA as an extended process of formation for discipleship that focuses on conversion. Students will be able to explain how this process takes place within community, is supported by liturgical celebrations, and is enriched by appropriate and complete catechesis in each of its periods. We highly recommend that leadership teams take this course together and can arrange for a closed course if desired.

Successful completion of this course earns 2.5 CEU's. Click here for more information about CEU's.

General Course Objectives

  • Understand the catechumenate as a period of training in the Christian life which presents Catholic teaching in its entirety, enlightens faith, directs the heart toward God, fosters participation in the liturgy, inspires service, and nurtures a life in accord with the spirit of Christ (RCIA #78).
  • Become familiar with the stages and liturgical rites of the RCIA.
  • Understand the differing needs of catechumens and candidates.
  • Appreciate the importance of the Word of God in the conversion and catechetical processes.
  • Understand how to form the RCIA team and create plans for the various periods and rites of the catechumenate.

Course Materials

  • Required Book: Thomas H. Morris The RCIA: Transforming the Church: A Resource for Pastoral Implementation Paulist Press: New York; Mahwah, N.J. (Rev and Updated ed.December 1, 1997). ISBN: ISBN-10: 0809137585; ISBN-13: 978-0809137589

Course Structure and Highlights

  • Week 1: The Structure of the RCIA, preparing a team, and the nature of conversion
    • Understand the structure of the RCIA in its various periods.
    • Articulate means of preparing the RCIA team
    • Appreciate the importance of involving community in the initiation process.
    • Understand the nature of conversion.
    • Understand the importance of liturgical celebration as the center of initiation catechesis.
  • Week 2: Models for Implementation and Pastoral Issues
    • Explain the importance of non-programmatic conversion, the involvement of the community of believers, and the place of formation and guidance in the conversion process.
    • Articulate various models for implementing the RCIA.
    • Understand the need for pastoral sensitivity in areas such as the question of annulments, validity of baptism, and ecumenical situations.
  • Week 3: The Periods of the RCIA through the Rite of Election
    • Understand the power and importance of rites and rituals within the RCIA.
    • Articulate the particular character of the individual periods of the RCIA and the liturgical and catechetical needs for each.
  • Week 4: The Lenten Retreat and Easter Vigil
    • Know the rites and appropriate catechesis for the Period of Purification and Enlightenment.
    • Articulate ways to guide the catechumens and candidates in celebrating the Triduum.
  • Week 5: Immersion into parish, yearly follow-up, Evaluation
    • Articulate ways to assist neophytes in becoming active in parish life.
    • Develop a means of evaluating the RCIA process and begin planning for the next group of inquirers.