Rite of Christian Initiation

Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults

The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, R.C.I.A., is the traditional practice of the Church for preparing non-baptized adults for full participation in the sacramental life of the Church.

At St. Mary's Church the RCIA is a nine-month process of interaction, education, spiritual growth and liturgical prayer within an experiential process. The program begins in September of each year. Most participants are received into the Church at the Easter Vigil, where they are baptized, confirmed and receive their First Communion. The RCIA program continues until Pentecost (May).

The RCIA program is specifically intended for unbaptized and unchurched persons seeking initiation into the life of Christ as Roman Catholics. However, baptized persons who are seeking full communion with the Catholic Church and uncatechised baptized persons desiring the sacramental life of the Catholic Church may be included in the St. Mary's program.

The RCIA is a four step gradual process that takes place within the community of the faithful.
  1. The first Period is named Inquiry in which the participant makes inquiry about the Faith and the Church responds and evangelizes. This Period ends with a mutual discernment and the Rite of acceptance into the Order of Catechumens. The Catechumen will have a Sponsor who is a Catholic person who will know and assist the candidate. They will stand as witness to the candidate's moral character, faith, and intention. They serve the candidate as a bridge to the community of The Faithful and accompany the candidate through the catechetical process.
  2. The second Period, named Catechumenate, is a time of learning about Catholic sacramental life and worship and includes study and spiritual development. It ends with mutual discernment and the Rite of Election.
  3. The third Period is named Enlightenment and coincides with the Lenten purification and preparation for the Easter celebration and the sacraments of initiation. This period is especially devoted to various celebrations and spiritual advancement through prayer.
  4. The fourth and final Period extends through the Easter season and is devoted to post-Easter catechesis designed to incorporate the newly initiated into the life of the church community.
RCIA classes are held on Wednesdays from 7:00-9:00 p.m. in the Seelos Hall at St. John Neumann.

Rite of Christian Initiation for Children

The Rite of Christian Initiation adapted for Children introduces children and youth in 3rd grade or higher, who have not received the Sacraments of Baptism and/or Reconciliation/Eucharist and who have had little or no catechesis, to Catholicism and prepares them to receive the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation) and Reconciliation.

Children who are seeking a fuller relationship with God through the Catholic Church are invited to participate in the Rite of Christian Initiation adapted for children. A celebration of entrance into our Catholic Christian Community occurs during the Easter season after an eight-month process of prayer, study and spiritual formation has prepared them for this celebration

Sessions are held on Sunday mornings (September to April) from 9:00 to 10:10 AM in the Elementary and Primary School Buildings. Before sessions on Sunday mornings, a Family Mass is held in Marian Hall of St. Mary’s High School from 8:00 to 8:45 AM. The priests who celebrate this liturgy prepare their homilies with the children in mind. Each of the grade levels host one of these Masses during the school year. Attendance at the 8:00 Mass is optional.

"Crossing a bridge can sometimes be a little scary. Don't be afraid. The bridge you are about to cross is made of very strong materials: the Creed (what we believe), the sacraments (how we worship), moral life (how we should love one another) and prayer (how we talk and listen to God). This bridge is held up by the love of God and held together by the faith of many people--parents, family memebrs, godparents, teachers, priests, nuns, and saints--whose faith acts like steel bolts welded together to reinforce the bridge's strength."  Bridges to Faith: Essentials of the Catholic Faith for Children Ages 8-11, Joe Paprocki, D.Min., National Consultant for Faith Formation, Loyola Press

Contact Us

For Adults:
Deacon George Russell

For Children and Youth:
Barbara Rolland
Coordinator of Pre-K to 5 Faith Formation, First Communion, & First Penance
St. Mary’s Parish, a Catholic congregation served by the Redemptorist Order, includes St. Mary’s Church and St. John Neumann Mission Church. St. Mary's Elementary and High School located in downtown Annapolis, Maryland, serve students in grades Kindergarten through 12. Anchored in faith, rooted in tradition, and committed to excellence, our programs build lifelong learners who are servant leaders.