The Rite of Christian
The purpose of the RCIA process is to give those persons who are interested in the Catholic faith an opportunity to draw nearer through study and prayer. There is no requirement or expectation that every person who begins the process will become a member of the Catholic Church. Participants attend classes in which they study the teachings of the Church and
learn about her traditions. There is also a series of rites which mark the stages of the journey toward full communion with the Church. At the Easter Vigil, those entering the Church receive the sacraments of initiation.
RCIA is open to persons from various backgrounds. Some people who go through the process have never been baptized. These persons are called "catechumens”. At the beginning of Lent, as they enter into a time of deeper prayer and preparation, they become the “elect.” At the Easter Vigil, the elect receive the sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.
Other persons have been baptized in another Christian church but are now interested in becoming Catholic. These persons are called “candidates”. At the Easter Vigil, the candidates are received into full communion and receive the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist.
Some persons have been baptized in the Catholic Church but did not receive any further instruction or sacraments. These people are also called “candidates”. These candidates are confirmed at a special Mass with the Archbishop and receive First Holy Communion.