RCIA (The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) is the process by which adults are initiated into the Catholic Church. Under the guidance of our Pastor and Director of Adult Faith Formation, the RCIA process is led by a team of lay church members over an eight-month period which begins each September and culminates the first week after Easter.
If you or someone you know might be interested in the RCIA program, please email or call Rachel Francis to sign up or receive more information:
Frequently Asked Questions
What is RCIA? +
The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) is the process by which adults are initiated into the Catholic Church. Under the guidance of our Pastor and Director of Adult Faith Formation, the RCIA process is led by a team of lay church members over an eight-month period which begins each September and culminates the first week after Easter.
The RCIA is not a program or a class in Catholicism, but rather a process of discerning and ritualizing stages of gradual conversion that takes place within the community of the faithful. The process is about a relationship over time with Jesus, which has no time frame. Although we organize our faith formation activities around a timeline, conversion occurs on God's time – not our time. Candidates who do not feel ready for the next period can reassess their faith growth during subsequent calendar cycles. The RCIA process follows an ancient practice of the Church and was restored by the Second Vatican Council as the normal way adults prepare for baptism. In 1974 the Rite for Christian Initiation for Adults was formally approved for use in the United States.
Is there a shorter version of the RCIA? +
Insights into a nationwide survey conducted around 1999 by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) Office for Evangelization revealed that the length of the current “program” is "about right".
It seems reasonable that catechumens or uncatechized candidates experience the yearly calendar of Catholic practice at least one time around in order to make an informed decision.
What are all the steps to becoming Catholic? +
The RCIA journey is divided into four periods (Inquiry, Catechumenate, Purification & Enlightenment, and Mystagogy) that respect the individual's journey of faith. The community celebrates a special ritual at the conclusion of each period of Christian formation and moves the participants into the next step.
Who can participate? +
The RCIA process is open to all those individuals who are unbaptized and who express a desire to study Catholic Christian beliefs and practices.
The program is also open to those individuals who have been baptized in another Christian denomination and who wish to explore membership in the Catholic Church.
Also, the RCIA is open to Catholics who have been baptized but who have not received the other initiation sacraments of Confirmation or Holy Eucharist.
Finally, St. Isidore’s RCIA is open to Catholics who simply desire to be updated in their faith.
What can I expect? +
Individuals who go through the RCIA process should expect to find themselves in a much deeper relationship with Jesus and possessing a better understanding of current Catholic teaching and practices.
As part of the conversion process, we study the Gospel, profess faith in Jesus and the Catholic Church, and receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist. In addition, one prized aspect of the RCIA experience cited by previous participants are the feelings of community, friendship and acceptance that it produces.
Is there any cost to participate in RCIA? +
No. Participants are encouraged to register at St. Isidore’s but no set fee is assessed.
Am I obligated to become Catholic? +
There is no obligation on participants to become members of the Catholic Church. Anyone seeking information about the Catholic faith is welcome to attend our sessions.
Participants will be encouraged to ask questions and dialogue with the material. There are times during the RCIA process for you to explore your intentions and continue to discern God's call. Everything shared during the sessions will be treated with confidentiality and respect.
What if I was Baptized but not as a Catholic? +
You will be glad to know that the Catholic Church universally recognizes most Christian Baptisms. You are welcome to explore the Catholic faith with us, and if and when you so choose, you can prepare to join the Catholic faith through the RCIA process. Prayer, discernment and reflection are part of the RCIA experience.
What is expected of me? +
All that is needed is a sincere desire to grow in relationship with Jesus and learn more about him and his great works. Attendance is expected at meetings at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday evening and attendance at Mass is encouraged.
If you choose to continue, attendance is expected at the Rite of Acceptance (held at St. Isidore's) and the Rite of Sending & Rite of Election held at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Salina, and at the Easter Vigil Mass, which is held at St. Isidore's. Each member of the RCIA is encouraged to spend some time each week in prayer and to read the reflection materials that are given out at class.
The Tuesday session is an opportunity to raise questions and dialogue with the material. People who feel comfortable sharing questions and reactions are encouraged to do so.
How long will the Tuesday sessions take? +
Tuesday sessions start at 7:00 p.m. and end at 8:45 p.m. beginning in September and continue to the week after Easter. Sessions are held in Newman Hall at St. Isidore's, 711 Denison Ave., Manhattan.
I understand that I need a sponsor, is this true? +
Yes, each RCIA candidate needs a Catholic sponsor. As Jesus taught his disciples the importance of community, it is significant that we walk this faith journey with companions, who participate in the process with you and help you find the resources and answers that you may have on your journey. If you don’t have a sponsor, we will find one for you by matching you with a lay volunteer/college student and member of St. Isidore’s.
What is a sponsor? +
A sponsor is a Confirmed and practicing Catholic, at least 16 years of age, either friend or family member, who is a spiritual companion and support on the journey, and serves as a mentor in the Christian life.
What do sponsors do? +
Sponsors actively participate in our meetings and celebration of the Sacraments. They converse regularly about the participant ongoing process of faith development. Their promise is to be good listeners and to help participants to know where God is leading them without pushing them in any direction
When we go to Mass on Sundays do our sponsors need to come with us? +
It is up to the individual sponsor. Some sponsors choose to attend mass with their families but candidates should feel free to ask their sponsor to attend mass with them here at St. Isidore’s.
What materials are needed? +
All needed materials will be handed out throughout the RCIA process.
Do other churches have a similar program? +
Yes. Most parishes world-wide have RCIA programs. They may differ slightly in approach, but all have a similar format and time frame.
I just have a feeling of not knowing enough about the Catholic Church to feel comfortable yet. +
That’s okay. The RCIA is a time of exploration, where people can ask questions and learn about the Church. People coming from other faith groups may have many questions about Catholicism, and areas where they don’t feel comfortable. Don’t worry. Each person is given the space to question, to pray with Jesus about it, and to take all the time they need to make a decision about joining the Church.
There is no obligation. Certainly even Catholics don’t know everything about the Church. It is a lifetime process, and each person is encouraged to make the journey at their own pace.
Is it common to feel unsure about my relationship with the Church and Catholicism? +
Yes. Many people are unsure, even many Catholics! Many people go through times of uncertainty and questions. That is normal. That is healthy. It is a sign that you are taking your spiritual growth seriously.
RCIA is there to help you grow in your relationship with Jesus first; whether or not you join the church is secondary. This is simply a time of exploration, prayer, and discernment.
What if we have doubts about converting? +
Follow your heart. Go where you feel most at home. If it is the Catholic Church great, if not, that is fine too. We would simply suggest that you pray with Jesus, ask questions and listen to where you feel God is leading you. Pray for guidance, and you will be led to the right place. You may also schedule a time to meet with the Pastor to help you discern what is best for you.You can schedule appointments with the pastor by calling the office: 785-539-7496.
I would like to hear about some of the experiences of the other catechumens and candidates? +
The experiences of other candidates and catechumens are as varied as the people themselves. Everyone has their own story, their own journey. RCIA candidates come from all walks of life, all backgrounds and all ages. Many of our team members and sponsors are former RCIA candidates.We invite you to come to our sessions and visit with any of our leaders, sponsors and candidates.
I haven’t felt God much in my life. What if I still haven’t really found God in my life? +
The fact that you are asking the question says that you are moving toward God, and God is working in your life. The desire for a relationship with God is in itself a sign of God’s presence. Keep listening and praying. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and amazing things will happen.
I am engaged to a Catholic. Can I become Catholic in time for the wedding? +
That depends on when the wedding is. The RCIA process takes around 9 months, so it is good to plan accordingly. There are always exceptions and we can deal with the needs of candidates on an individual basis.
Does it mean I have to join RCIA? +
No. You don’t have to be Catholic to marry a Catholic in the Church. The decision to join the RCIA is one that you should make for yourself, because it is something you want to do, not because you feel you have to. Please talk to the Priest who is officiating your marriage for more information.
Why does the RCIA process take such a long time? +
Relationships are something that take time to grow, like a flower takes time to grow from a seed and bloom. RCIA is a process by which the relationship with Jesus is nurtured. Someone who would like to become Catholic must learn about the faith before they can make a decision, and that learning takes time.
Like any relationship, a person's relationship with God develops, and it can’t be rushed. Everyone has their own pace and their own particular needs and questions. The good news is that the process is fun, too! Most people who have come through the process say at the end: "I wish it had been longer.
Do I need an annulment before I can join the RCIA? If “yes” what is the criteria? +
No, you don’t need an annulment before you can join the RCIA if you are divorced and have not remarried. Being divorced does not affect your ability to go to Mass and be received into the Church.
The only time it becomes an issue is if you plan on getting remarried in the Church or you or your spouse are in a second or third marriage. The annulment process takes approximately 6 months to a year. You start by consulting with the Pastor at St. Isidore's Catholic Student Center, who will help you start the paperwork. You fill out certain forms discussing the reasons that your marriage didn’t work out, and those forms are sent to the tribunal or diocesan panel of canon lawyers in Salina, who then makes a decision. It is advisable if you are planning on getting married in the Church or have been remarried since a divorce to do this as soon as possible.
If I was confirmed in another denomination, do I need to be re-confirmed in the Catholic Church? +
When someone has been baptized in another denomination, they are not re-baptized. People who have already been confirmed are re-confirmed and receive Communion as part of being brought into “full communion” in the Church at the Easter Vigil.