Becoming a Catholic

“Come and see” (John 1:46)

This has long been our invitation to those seeking answers or simply just curious about the faith. The phrase “come and see” was part of those first moving encounters of Jesus with the disciples.

If you’re an adult seeking Baptism or thinking about becoming a Catholic, your next step is Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). Below are some frequently asked questions which might help.

The RCIA is a process of initiation into the Catholic Church for adults. This process prepares adults to receive the sacraments of Christian initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist). While the formal RCIA process tends to end some time after initiation, the RCIA journey continues where as a baptised Catholic, you will continue to be lifelong and joyful disciples of Jesus Christ.

For more information on the sacraments, read more here.

RCIA journeys have varying lengths. As a general guide, the journey is about a year – from your time of inquiry till a couple of weeks after baptism the following Easter.

The RCIA process is broken up into four periods:

I. Evangelisation and Pre-catechumenate
As an Inquirer, this is a time for you to ask questions, be introduced to Gospel values, and experience the beginnings of faith. If you feel that you are ready and would like to take the next step, this period concludes with the celebration of the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens.

II. Catechumenate
As a Catechumen, this is a time for your faith to be nurtured. You will be participating in celebrations of the Word and attending sessions to learn about Catholic faith and teachings. If you feel that you are ready and would like to take the next step towards initiation, this period concludes with the celebration of the Rite of Election/Enrollment of Names where there will be a diocesan-wide celebration of Catechumens.

III. Purification and Enlightenment
As an Elect, this period (usually during Lent) preceding your initiation is meant to be a time of reflection, intensely centered on conversion, marked by the celebration of the scrutinies and preparation for the rites of the Sacraments of Initiation. During this time, you are still free to make a final decision whether you wish to be fully initiated into the church.

IV. Mystagogy/Postbaptismal Catechesis
Now that you have been initiated, as a neophyte, you are fully a part of the community. This is a time for deepening of your faith.

The Catholic Church recognizes baptisms of Christian communities which are carried out with water, “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”. If your baptism is considered valid, you will not be re-baptized. Instead, you will undergo the RCIA programme as a “candidate”, preparing for the other two Sacraments of Christian Initiation: Confirmation and Holy Communion. If your baptism was not valid e.g. “in the name of Jesus”, you will be baptized.

If you are not sure, you may speak to our RCIA coordinators or parish priest for further clarification.

The Catechumenate is a time of formal catechesis and immersion in the life of the church. It is helpful for you to join in with the catechumens as they are also being prepared to receive the sacraments of initiation.

For more information on RCIA, you may contact either the parish office or RCIA coordinators through the email below:

rcia@divinemercy.my