Second Period: Catechumenate

The Rite of Acceptance marks the beginning of the catechumenate, a period of study and reflection on the faith. At this point, the inquirers become catechumens.

Candidates (those already baptized but preparing for full membership in the Catholic Church) formally enter the RCIA process through the Rite of Welcoming.

Both publicly state their intention to continue their formation, and the community supports them in their journey. Sponsors will act as companions and models of faith and lend their personal support. 

The length of this period is determined by the needs of each participant and of the community. It can last anywhere from several months to a couple of years. During this time, the catechumens and candidates: 

  • Learn Catholic beliefs
  • Are exposed to various forms of prayer
  • Join the community in worship, social events, and charitable activities
  • Participate in the apostolic life of the Church

During the catechumenate, catechesis usually takes place during the Sunday liturgy. The participants are prayerfully dismissed after the Universal Prayer (Prayer of the Faithful); the catechists, and sometimes the sponsors, join them in reflecting upon the day's readings and connecting them to their faith and the life of the Church.

There should be celebrations of the word of God that accord with the liturgical season and that contribute to the instruction of the catechumens and the needs of the community...Celebrations of the word may also be held in connection with the catechetical or instruction meetings of the catechumens, so that these will occur in context of prayer. (RCIA chapter of The Rites, Volume One 81, 84)1

The Rites of Acceptance and Welcome

Please click on the following link for the text of the Rites of Acceptance and Welcome: 

The Rite of Acceptance and Welcome

The Rite of Sending of Catechumens

Please click on the following link for the text of the Rite of Sending of Catechumens: 

The Rite of Sending of Catechumens

1 Catechumenate, Journey of Faith Leaders Guide, Inquiry, Liguori Publications 2016, pp 6-7.



Period of Inquiry

Rite of Acceptance (Catechumens)

Rite of Welcoming


Rite of Election

Purification and Enlightenment

The Scrutinies

Easter Vigil


Becoming Catholic