St. Patrick Catholic Church
Rite of Christian Initiation


2005 Rite of Acceptance & WelcomingRCIA is a gradual process of Christian initiation that takes place within the community of the faithful and is for all adults who:

  1. are unbaptized and would like to be received fully into the Catholic Church through Baptism;

  2. have been baptized in another Christian community and seek full reception into the Catholic Church;

  3. have been baptized Catholic as infants but have not received the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.


  1. Period of the Precatechumenate (or Inquiry)
    Time of evangelization and introduction to basic Catholic life, prayers, liturgical actions and teachings. Inquirers strive to open their hearts to Gospel and the workings of the Holy Spirit and be freely converted to the Lord and commit themselves to Him.

    • Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens / Rite of Welcoming

  2. Period of the Catechumenate
    Period of pastoral formation and suitable instruction in the teachings of the Catholic Faith as well as a time to develop spiritually in prayer both individually and communally. Candidates and Catechumens receive special blessings and prayers on Sundays and participate in Breaking Open the Word.

    • Rite of Election / Call to Continuing Conversion

  3. Period of Purification and Enlightenment
    Beginning the first Sunday in Lent this is an intense period of prayer, continued instruction in the Faith and discernment in preparation for the sacraments of initiation. Candidates and Catechumens continue to receive special blessings and prayers on Sundays and participate in Breaking Open the Word. Presentations made of the Creed and the Lordís Prayer.

    • Sacraments of Initiation Ė Easter Vigil

  4. Period of Postbaptismal Catechesis (or Mystagogy) and the Neophyte Year
    Period between Easter and Pentecost dedicated to deepen the Christian experience, for spiritual growth and for entering more fully into the life and unity of the community. The newly baptized begin their neophyte year.

RCIA meets on Tuesday nights from 6:30-8:30pm for formation in the Faith beginning in September until Pentecost in the Cardinal Hickey Center (Catholic Charities building) as well as on Sundays for celebration of the Mass beginning in the period of the Catechumenate.

2005 candidates and sponsors at rectoryDiscerning the call to become Catholic involves an investment of time, study and prayer. Registration begins in August every year for entry into the Precatechumenate. Participation in all four periods of RCIA is required for completing the process of initiation. If you miss the entire period of the Precatechumenate (which normally ends on the last Sunday before Advent) and would still like to continue your discernment and preparation before the next August registration, feel free to contact the RCIA director for an individual consultation and gain access to the helpful resources in our RCIA Lending Library and/or visit our online resources page for more information

RCIA Director: Robert Quinlan
Phone: 202-347-2713 ext. 121

The Role of the Sponsor
A sponsor has a privileged opportunity to walk side by side with those who are discerning and preparing to join the Catholic Church. The sponsorís (or godparentís) role is primarily to:

  • witness their own faith to their designated candidate (or catechumen) by modeling the Christian life;

  • assist them at the weekly sessions and help them get acquainted with Catholic life and practices;

  • accompany them on certain Sundayís for special Rites and at the Easter Vigil;

  • give testimony of their candidateís (or catechumenís) readiness to be received into the Church.

To be a sponsor (or godparent) one needs to be a practicing Catholic in good standing with the Church and has already received the sacrament of Confirmation.

The Role of the Team
The team represents the parish community; the body of Christ. Each team member has a particular leadership role that helps facilitate the process of RCIA. On the Tuesday sessions they assist by providing hospitality, distributing materials, and leading the small group discussions. Team members also take turns leading the Sunday discussions, called Breaking Open the Word, in place of the Liturgy of the Eucharist during the periods of the Catechumenate and Purification and Enlightenment.

Please consider sharing your time and your faith with those who are knocking at our door asking to join our Catholic family. This is both a powerful and prayerful ministry, and is at the core of the Church's mandate to "Go... and make disciples..." [Mt 28:19-20]. Your own faith-life will be renewed and enriched!

Please keep all those involved in the RCIA process in your prayers.

Additional Resources: