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The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, commonly called the R.C.I.A. program, is a wonderful and powerful journey that takes people who may have been raised in other faiths, or have never completed their Catholic initiation through a program designed to bring them into the fullness and richness of the Catholic Church.

The program begins in September and continues through the Easter Vigil. It involves several steps. Each of the stages are preceded by various Rites in union with the assembly, all designed towards the Easter Vigil, and your full initiation into the Catholic community.

  • Inquiry – During this stage, people inquire and ask questions about the Church’s teachings and participate in learning about the Faith. Through the use of scripture and the Catechism, many questions are answered and various subjects are discussed. It is a time that challenges the participants to discover for themselves the truths of the Church and to decide if they wish to continue. It is an exciting time.
  • Catechumenate – This is the second period that people travel through. During this period, you have already made the decision to continue the journey. You will now be known as Catechumens {not baptized} or Candidate {baptized Christian or Catholic}. This is to mark your “Exodus” from the inquiry stage to a new way of life.
  • Enlightenment and Purification – In this step of the journey you will be asked to look deeply into yourself and reflect as we go through the Lenten period together. It is a time of reflection and honesty as we enter into the sufferings of our Lord. You will be asked to “scrutinize” or examine closely your own walk with God. This is also a time of purification, as you get ready to enter into the glorious mysteries of our Easter celebration. This period culminates on Easter Vigil when you are welcomed into full communion with our Lord and His Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
  • Mystagogy – This is the final period of your initiation and occurs after the Easter Vigil. It too is a time of reflection and looking ahead as to how you will now move forward as a member of the Catholic community. It is not an ending, but a beginning of your new life in the Faith that is two thousand years old.

How long does it take ?
At the Cathedral of St Helena, the process may take up to a year to complete. This is based on any marital issues that still may need to be resolved such as annulments etc. However, most people complete the journey within 6 – 7 months depending on the date of Easter.

When do you meet ?
We generally meet once a week. The dates and start times will be posted on this web site and in the Cathedral bulletin. Sign up now to ensure your place.

Who do I contact ?
For more information or to sign up for R.C.I.A. classes, Please contact Deacon Bob Fishman at (406) 442-5825 or e-mail at

May God richly bless you this day!

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