Inquiry and Journey of Faith



Inquiry Period (Precatechumenate)
Prior to discerning entrance into the Catholic Church through the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) process, an individual comes to some knowledge of Jesus Christ, considers his or her relationship with Jesus Christ and is usually attracted in some way to the Catholic Church. This (inquiry) period is known as the Period of Evangelization and Precatechumenate [Journeying though this inquiry period at Holy Spirit Catholic Church begins with participation in the Alpha program [Register through the link above]. For some, this process involves a long period of searching; for others, a shorter time. Often, contact with people of faith and a personal faith experience lead people to inquire about the Catholic Church.

After a conversation with a priest, or RCIA coordinator, the person, known as an “inquirer,” may seek acceptance into the RCIA Order of Catechumens formation period, through the Rite of Acceptance. During this Rite, the inquirer stands amidst the parish community and states that he or she wants to become a baptized member of the Catholic Church. The parish assembly affirms this desire and the inquirer becomes a Catechumen.

Formation Period (Catechumenate)
When a Catechumen and the priest, and the RCIA coordinator working with him or her, believes the person is ready to make a faith commitment to Jesus in the Catholic Church, the next step is the request for baptism and the celebration of the Rite of Election. Even before the Catechumens are baptized, they have a special relationship to the Church.

The Rite of Election includes the enrollment of names of all the Catechumens seeking baptism at the coming Easter Vigil. Typically, on the first Sunday of Lent, the Catechumens, their sponsors and families gather at the cathedral church. The Catechumens publicly express their desire for baptism to the diocesan bishop. Their names are recorded in a book and they are called the Elect.

Purification and Enlightenment Period (The Elect)
The days of Lent are the final Period of Purification and Enlightenment leading up to the Easter Vigil. Lent is a period of preparation marked by prayer, study, and spiritual direction for the Elect, and prayers for them by the parish communities. The Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation takes place during the Easter Vigil Liturgy on Holy Saturday when the Elect receives the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist. Now the person is fully initiated into the Catholic Church.

Spiritual Growth -Mystagogy- Period (Neophyte)
As a newly initiated Catholic, they continue their formation and education in the Period of the Post Baptismal Catechesis, which is also called Mystagogy. This period runs until Pentecost and beyond. During the period the newly baptized members reflect on their experiences at the Easter Vigil and continue to learn more about the Scriptures, the Sacraments, and the teachings of the Catholic Church. In addition they reflect on how they will serve Christ and help in the Church’s mission and outreach activities.

The journey for baptized Catholics who have not received the sacraments of Confirmation & Eucharist, and baptized non-Catholic’s, varies from the above process. Your RCIA coordinator will explain these differences.