What is the RCIA Program in the Catholic Church 

The RCIA program contains classes that are intended for those who are not members of the Catholic church and would like to be. Folks enter into a formation process to 
receive the sacraments of initiation; these are Confirmation, Baptism, and 
Eucharist and usually takes place on the Easter Vigil. The person is gradually introduced to various aspects of 
Catholic practices and beliefs.

There 
are four key periods in the initiation process, and they are separated by various 
rituals, which celebrate and express what occurs at each stage.

  • Evangelization 
and pre-catechumenate
  • Period 
Of Catechumenate
  • Purification 
and Enlightenment
  • Period 
of Mystagogy.

History 
Of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
When 
you try to figure out how the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) 
came into existence, you may have to go back to the early church when the 12 
Apostles were directly in charge of it. These would go through the countries 
and towns spreading the Good News, and they usually came across small 
communities where people would come together in small groups to study the works 
of Jesus and meditate on the word of God. They would work communally on the 
call to convert. It was done at a time when persecution had become very common, and most of the people who participated in this knew what they would face: that their 
conversion would demand possible martyrdom.

The 
educational and transformational process began to have some form 
after the first 100 years of the church. This was the initial establishment of the Catechumenate – a process that is used even to this day. The conversion process 
was very comprehensive as to make sure that each person clearly understood the 
Christian culture, the teachings, and history.

As 
we went on to the third and fourth centuries, this process had developed into a 
3-year program. However, it was not fully developed and had very little 
structure. By the fifth century, the Catechumenate had begun to experience 
challenges. Some thought that the need for a lengthy initiation process was no longer necessary because 
children were being baptized as infants. The 
lack of the Catechumenate caused both the Augustinians and the Dominican Order to 
start the process of re-establishing the Catechumenate.
They didn’t like how 
the practice of baptisms was occurring during mass. However, the process of 
re-establishment was unsuccessful, and it remained unchanged to the 
early 20th century.

There 
was a movement in the early 1900s that wanted to re-add the Catechumenate in 
the process of conversion. This too was faced with many problems due to the 
number of nonpracticing Catholics. From those early days to the present this 
process has evolved immensely. Catholic bishops have refused to change the program to date. 
They feel that it is important to the society in the process of conversion.