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Becoming Catholic


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Becoming Catholic


Becoming Catholic

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)

If you have ever thought about becoming Catholic, have not completed Confirmation or another sacrament, or want to learn more about the Catholic faith, then RCIA is for you!

Frequently Asked Questions

What does RCIA stand for?

It stands for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.

When and where do the classes meet?

RCIA is held every Wednesday from 7 to 8:30pm at the Newman Center.  We begin in mid-September and end in mid April.

Who should attend the classes?

RCIA is for adults who want to be baptized, baptized Christians of other denominations who are interested in learning more about Catholicism or are interested in converting, and those baptized Catholics who have not yet received first Communion or Confirmation.

Can non-students join RCIA?

Yes.  We often have people join who are connected to the University as faculty or staff, live in the Foggy Bottom area, or are young adults and would like to go through the process with others their age.  The program is geared to students however, so keep that in mind.  If you would prefer to go through RCIA in a parish, please contact the staff of St. Stephen Martyr (located at 25th and Penn) at 202-785-0982.

How do I register?

Registration for the 2017-2018 year is now open. Please register HERE. Please contact Julie (julie@gwcatholic.com) with any questions.

How late is too late to join a group already in progress?

Meetings begin mid-September, so by November is usually our cutoff date. No matter what the date, if you are interested, please contact Julie (julie@gwcatholic.com) for more information. 

Are there other time commitments besides Wednesday nights?

  • There is a one-day retreat in the Spring Semester
  • There is a celebration or rite during the Spring Semester.  
  • The Initiation Mass is held during the Saturday Easter Vigil.

Is this a high-pressure program about becoming Catholic?

Not at all.  There is no pressure to receive the sacraments or to become Catholic.  We simply want to provide the means necessary if that is what you decide God is calling you to.  We are merely here to help you discern through prayer, instruction, discussion and community.

What exactly does the process entail?

RCIA is done in four stages.  The descriptions are as follows:

  1. Precatechumenate or Inquiry Period – This is a time to ask questions, build community, learn about the faith and conversion of heart.
  2. Catechumenate – This is a longer period marked by continued learning of the faith and its doctrines while also deeping one’s prayer life and sense of community.
  3. Period of Enlightenment and Purification – This is a more intense time of preparation for the sacraments.  This period runs through Lent and is a time of deep prayer, conversion, and discernment.
  4. Mystagogy – This describes the period of time when the newly initiated Catholics are drawn more deeply into the life of the Church.

What if I have more questions?

Email Julie (julie@gwcatholic.com) or call at 202-676-6855.