RCIA Process

What Grandma's Kitchen Can Teach Us about the RCIA Process

5 easy tips to make the experience more meaningful

by Joe Paprocki, D.Min.

My wife's Grandma used to bake a delicious sweet bread that everyone loved. Interestingly, however, the recipe was in her head and not on paper. While she had a definite idea for what steps to follow and what ingredients to use, she also knew that making her bread was an act of love, not a science.

When it comes to making Christians, we can learn something from Grandma: yes, there is a recipe—the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults—but making Christians is an act of love, not a science. The RCIA is a process, not a program.

For those of us coordinating the RCIA process in our parish, this means that we have to loosen up on our grip a little bit and make some room for the Holy Spirit, who guides the process. Does this mean starting from scratch every year? Of course not. But by adding a dash of this and a pinch of that to the basic recipe—the Rite itself—we can shape the RCIA experience to meet the needs of our candidates:

1. Begin by familiarizing yourself with the steps and process of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults and by looking to the liturgical year (especially the Sunday Scripture readings) to serve as the foundation of our “curriculum.”

2. Take time to get to know your catechumens and candidates so that you can assess their individual needs.

3. Gather and employ a variety of catechetical resources to serve these needs.

4. Identify a variety of people in parish leadership who can share their talents as presenters or guest speakers.

5. Look for opportunities to immerse the catechumens and candidates in the life and ministry of the parish, especially giving service to others.

Baking bread requires us to “jump right in” and shape the ingredients into a delicious work of art. The same can be said of making Christians. So put on your apron, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to join the Holy Spirit in the “kitchen” that we call the RCIA.


Joe Paprocki, D.Min. 

Joe Paprocki, D.Min., has been a catechetical leader and religious educator in the Chicago area for more than thirty years.

See More

Books by Joe Paprocki, D.Min.

The Catechist's Backpack

Spiritual Essentials for the Journey

Written by two nationally known, expert lay catechists, The Catechist’s Backpack gives catechists the resources that speak to the spiritual dimension of their call to share the Catholic faith.

Shop Now

Beyond the Catechist's Toolbox

Catechesis That Not Only Informs but Also Transforms

Joe Paprocki, best-selling author of The Catechist’s Toolbox series, has written the first, step-by-step book that demonstrates how to teach a 75-minute catechetical session with practical techniques that expand upon the textbook to create a more prayerful climate in the classroom.

Shop Now

7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness

Enriching Your Faith by Strengthening the Health of Your Soul

In 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness, best-selling author Joe Paprocki provides a prescription for spiritual health based on the rich wisdom of Catholic Tradition.

Shop Now

Practice Makes Catholic

Moving from a Learned Faith to a Lived Faith

Why do Catholics do what they do? Practice Makes Catholic from Loyola Press gets to the heart of the question-and to the heart of what it really means to be Catholic.

Shop Now

Living the Mass

How One Hour a Week Can Change Your Life

In Living the Mass, Joe Paprocki, DMin, and Fr. Dominic Grassi convincingly show how the one hour spent at Mass on Sunday can truly transform the other 167 hours of the week.

Shop Now

Una Fe Bien Construida

Guia catolica para conocer y compartir lo que creemos

Una fe bien construida,—desarrollado con enorme creatividad usando metafóricamente el tema de la construcción— facilita enormemente a los católicos el conocimiento de su fe y les da seguridad al momento de compartirla.

Shop Now

Los planos de Biblia

Una guía católica para entender y acoger la Palabra de Dios

En Los planos de Biblia, el exitoso autor Joe Paprocki ayuda al católico de la calle a entender fácilmente la Biblia, y lo hace con humor.

Shop Now

The Bible Blueprint

A Catholic's Guide to Understanding and Embracing God's Word

In The Bible Blueprint, best-selling author Joe Paprocki makes understanding the Bible not only easy for the person in the pew, but downright fun!

Shop Now

La caja de herramientas del catequista

Este libro es ideal para nuevos catequistas, La caja de herramientas del catequista te entrena mientras llevas a cabo tu ministerio como catequista. 

Shop Now

A Well-Built Faith

A Catholic's Guide to Knowing and Sharing What We Believe

In A Well-Built Faith, Joe Paprocki makes it easy for Catholics to feel confident in teaching the Catholic faith. He makes complex teachings of the Catholic faith accessible to average Catholics without compromising Catholic teaching and tradition.

Shop Now

The Catechist's Toolbox

How to Thrive as a Religious Education Teacher

The Catechist’s Toolbox offers catechists tips, advice, and a methodical approach that will help them succeed as educators of the faith.

Shop Now

Under the Influence of Jesus

The Transforming Experience of Encountering Christ

In Under the Influence of Jesus, Joe Paprocki explains that by opening ourselves to encountering Christ, we can learn how to live the Gospel and be models of faith.

Shop Now

Más allá de la caja de herramientas del catequista

Catequesis que no solo informa, sino que también transforma

Más allá de la caja de herramientas del catequista le permite a los jóvenes encontrar a Jesús en la oración de manera que puedan convertirse en discípulos de Cristo para toda la vida.

Shop Now

Amos/Hosea/Micah: A Call to Justice

Six Weeks with the Bible: Catholic Perspectives

The prophets tell us what God thinks about oppression, injustice, and neglect of the poor.

Shop Now

La experiencia transformadora de encontrarse con Cristo

Bajo la influencia de Jesús

La experiencia transformadora de encontrarse con Cristo es la rotunda respuesta del reconocido autor Joe Paprocki a esa pregunta: ¡Sí, es posible!

Shop Now

A Church on the Move

52 Ways to Get Mission and Mercy in Motion

52 specific, practical, and achievable strategies to help Catholic parishes embody the broad themes of Pope Francis’ papacy—mission, mercy, and evangelization.

Shop Now

La mochila del catequista

Lo indispensable para el camino espiritual

La mochila del catequista brinda a los catequistas recursos que atienden a la dimensión espiritual de su llamado a compartir la fe católica.

Shop Now

Vivir la misa

Cómo una hora a la semana puede cambiar tu vida

Explica detallademente cómo cada parte de la misa se relaciona con la llamada que recibimos en el bautismo, poniendo en estrecha relación la misa dominical y el resto de nuestra semana.

Shop Now

Rite of Christian Initiation

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) was restored after the Second Vatican Council and has been mandated in the United States since 1988. This means that the normal procedure for preparing and welcoming adults into the Catholic Church is as follows:

  1. a period of evangelization and precatechumenate
  2. acceptance into the order of catechumens in a liturgical rite in which the candidates express a desire to respond to God's call and the Church accepts their expression
  3. a period of the catechumenate
  4. a liturgical rite of election or enrollment of names, celebrated on the First Sunday of Lent
  5. a period of purification and enlightenment, during the Lenten season
  6. the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation during the Easter Vigil; and
  7. a period of postbaptismal catechesis, known as mystagogy.