RCIA Frequently Asked Questions
How committed to becoming Catholic do I have to be to begin the RCIA process?
You need only be interested in exploring the possibility of becoming Catholic. There is no minimum degree of commitment required simply to begin the process. We welcome you to come with your questions and to share in conversation about what it means to live the Christian life in the Catholic tradition.
What if I start the RCIA process and then later feel unsure and might want to step away for a time or even leave the process altogether?
Feeling unsure at times is natural. After all, moving in the direction of joining a particular faith community is a significant step. It is always a good idea to speak with one of the catechists (teachers) in the process to understand the source of your doubt. If you remain uncertain and feel that now is not the right time to explore becoming Catholic, you are always free to leave the process. If you step away from the process and later decide you want to return, you will always be welcome.
When and how do I begin?
The first step is to come and learn more. Anyone who is interested in exploring the Catholic Church is welcome to come to the weekly Inquiry Sessions, where individuals may ask questions and gather information. No commitments are required during this time. The inquiry sessions are intended to help each person decide whether s/he wants to consider fuller participation in the Catholic faith community. The Tuesday inquiry sessions are held weekly at 7:00 p.m. in the Peter Faber Room of the Holy Trinity Parish Center. Pre-registration is not necessary; you may simply come and see.
Who could I talk to if I want to learn more before I come to an Inquiry Session?
You may call the RCIA Coordinator, Anne Koester, at 202-337-2840 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anne will be glad to meet with you or talk by phone.
How long is the process for someone who is not baptized?
The length of time varies, depending on when an individual feels ready to move from the Inquiry Period to the next period, the Catechumenate. The Catechumenate includes deeper spiritual and faith formation, prayer and reflection, and involvement with the parish community. While there is no defined length of time for an unbaptized person who is considering initiation to be a catechumen, the period generally extends for at least one year. The final period of preparation for baptism coincides with the six weeks of Lent, which precedes the celebration of Easter. The rites of initiation – the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist – are celebrated at the Easter Vigil (the night before Easter Sunday).
How long is the process for someone who is already baptized?
This is determined on an individual basis, which means that when baptized candidates for full communion are received into the Catholic Church will depend on their individual readiness. Unlike the rites of initiation for the unbaptized, the Rite of Reception of Baptized Candidates is not tied to a particular liturgical season or feast, so it may be celebrated any time of the year, preferably in the context of Sunday Eucharist. Generally, the process of formation ranges from a few months to several months.
Is the RCIA like taking a course?
No. The RCIA is a process of faith formation, catechesis (teaching of the faith), and spiritual growth. While reading/resources will be suggested and recommended, there are no requirements like one might have when taking a formal course.
What if I have to miss some Tuesday sessions because of family or work commitments or travel?
No worries. We understand these conflicts. We will make sure that you receive missed handouts and that one of the catechists or other facilitators can be available to you to answer questions and talk about the session that you missed. Your sponsor will also be a resource to you.
Do I need to find my own sponsor?
No. One of the Holy Trinity parishioners who generously responded to the call for sponsors in the RCIA process will be assigned to you. Of course, if you know a Holy Trinity parishioner whom you would like to invite to sponsor you, feel free to ask that individual to participate in the RCIA process with you.