Become Catholic (RCIA)

If you have ever though about becoming Catholic, have not completed Confirmation or another sacrament, or want to learn more about the Catholic faith, then RCIA is for you!

Space Holder

Frequently Asked Questions

What does RCIA stand for?

It stands for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.

When and where do the classes meet?

RCIA is held every Wednesday from 7 to 8 pm at the Newman Center.  We begin in mid-September and end in early May.

Who should attend the classes?

RCIA is for adults who want to be baptized, baptized Christians of other denominations who are interested in learning more about Catholicism or are interested in converting, and those baptized Catholics who have not yet received first Communion or Confirmation.

Can non-students join RCIA?

Yes.  We often have people join who are connected to the University as faculty or staff, live in the Foggy Bottom area, or are young adults and would like to go through the process with others their age.  The program is geared to students however, so keep that in mind.  If you would prefer to go through RCIA in a parish, please contact the staff of St. Stephen Martyr (located at 25th and Penn) at 202-785-0982.

How do I register?

Just contact Father Greg at chaplain@gwcatholic.com

How late is too late to join a group already in progress?

Typically it is too late to join once three or more classes have already been taught.  However, please contact Father Greg regardless; there are certain exceptions to the rule.

What other time commitments are there besides Wednesday nights?

  • There is a one-day retreat in the Spring Semester
  • There are a few additional celebrations or “rites” during both the Fall and Spring Semester.  These are always incorporated into our Sunday, 7:30 pm Student Mass.
  • The Initiation Mass is held during the Saturday Easter Vigil.

Is this a high-pressure program about becoming Catholic?

Not at all.  There is no pressure to receive the sacraments or to become Catholic.  We simply want to provide the means necessary if that is what you decide God is calling you to.  We are merely here to help you discern through prayer, instruction, discussion and community.

What exactly does the process entail?

RCIA is done in four stages.  The descriptions are as follows:

  1. Precatechumenate or Inquiry Period – This is a time to ask questions, build community, learn about the faith and conversion of heart.
  2. Catechumenate – This is a longer period marked by continued learning of the faith and its doctrines while also deeping one’s prayer life and sense of community.
  3. Period of Enlightenment and Purification – This is a more intense time of preparation for the sacraments.  This period runs through Lent and is a time of deep prayer, conversion, and discernment.
  4. Mystagogy – This describes the period of time when the newly initiated Catholics are drawn more deeply into the life of the Church.

What if I have more questions?

Email Father Greg at chaplain@gwcatholic.com or call at 202-676-6855.