lay formation

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)


Welcome and thank you for your YES to helping in RCIA Ministry!


RCIA is a beautiful and rich ministry, but it is complex – both in terms of how the process unfolds, and in terms of the variety of people who come into the process and their experiences and what they “need” in order to be initiated/received into the Church.

Your pastor will be the primary person to direct and guide you in this ministry. I (Todd Graff) am a resource to you and to others involved in RCIA ministry across the diocese, and I will do my best to assist you. But, your pastor is the key person to lead you in this ministry. He and I can certainly work together in this as well.

With that by way of context, we will offer a few items that may be of some support and assistance...




The most important text for RCIA leaders to have is the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Study Edition. Your parish may have a copy. This is the Church’s official text which describes the RCIA process and the stages and rites which are part of this process. The text is available from the Catholic publishers, Liturgy Training Publications [click here] and Liturgical Press [click here]. It is a long text, and sometimes complicated, but you should have it as a reference for understanding the RCIA.


It would be helpful for you to familiarize yourself with the RCIA. Here are some brief and simple ways to do this:

- Click Here for a page from the RCIA text, which provides an overview of the RCIA process (and another page with a more visual presentation of it can be found here).

- Click Here for a a brief description and overview of the RCIA at the web site of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

- Click Here to access a brief but more in-depth description of the RCIA put together by our RCIA Coordinator at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart  in Winona.

Also... the web site for The Association for Catechumenal Ministry (“ACM”) has a wealth of resources that one can explore to enrich their understanding of the RCIA process, and the role of the RCIA leader and team. Two resources available at their web site to consider are:

- “An Introduction to the RCIA” video (one hour in length; can be viewed for free at the web site)

- “Getting Started with RCIA” (“7 free downloadable PDF documents that will help you with implementing a successful catechumenate in your parish”).


Two important points to keep in mind with regard to the RCIA are:

The RCIA is designed to assist people in “seek[ing] the living God and enter[ing] the way of faith and conversion as the Holy Spirit opens their hearts.” (RCIA, #1) Through the RCIA, we accompany people on their journey into the Catholic Church in a way that seeks to deepen their faith and lead them into deeper conversion to Jesus Christ.

People coming into the RCIA may be unbaptized (called “Catechumens”) who seek to be initiated into the Church (through their reception of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist) or baptized in another Christian denomination (called “Candidates”) who seek to be received into the Church (through their reception of the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist). [They may also have been baptized in the Catholic Church, and are seeking to complete their initiation into the Church.] The path for the Catechumens and Candidates within the RCIA is distinct, and you can find a handout which lays this out with reference to the RCIA text here.


An important part of the RCIA process is studying and learning about the Catholic Faith, and we do this in a spirit of prayer and reflection as we accompany our participants in their formation. There are various resources available to assist in the catechetical aspects of the RCIA. Some of these resources are the following:

- The “Symbolon: The Catholic Faith Explained” DVD series (with Dr. Edward Sri, and produced by The Augustine Institute) [click here]

- The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults (produced by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) [click here]

- The “Catholicism” DVD series (with Bishop Robert Barron, and produced by Word on Fire) [click here].

- “My Catholic Life,” which can be accessed online and used as part of the RCIA process [click here]

- “The Catholic Way,” which can be purchased as a downloadable or hard copy resource [click here].

There are many other resources as well, some of which can be accessed by clicking here.


Fifth, and finally… It is helpful for those serving in RCIA ministry in our parishes to connect with one another, and this is another part of the work of this diocesan office. If you would like to be on the diocesan RCIA contact list please contact Todd Graff and you will be included in the communications that come out from the office and invited to our various RCIA gatherings that take place throughout the year.                                                                             



                        Office of RCIA Staff:

Todd Graff


55 W. Sanborn Street
PO Box 588
Winona, MN 55987
Phone: 507-858-1270
Fax: 507-454-8106