Since 1988 the RCIA has been mandated as the ordinary way adults are brought into full communion with the Catholic faith, whether from another Christian denomination or through baptism. The RCIA is designed to be a progressive journey of faith and a recurrent experience of conversion not only for the inquirer but also for the whole Catholic community.
The formation of new members is a communal responsibility. It encompasses each phase of parish life: witnessing, praying together, studying Scripture, sharing liturgy and fellowship. Although the primary aim of the RCIA is the formation of new Catholics, a parish in which the RCIA flourishes experiences additional benefits. In its gradual unfolding, the RCIA process calls to mind the challenge and responsibility of every Catholic. It gives parishioners a deeper sense of what conversion means and emphasizes the Church's identity as a community of faith and the people of God.
Catholics within St. Andrew's parish community can become involved in the RCIA by being sponsors, working on the RCIA team, sharing personal faith stories, and actively searching for those who have no faith community or identity.
The RCIA is a gradual process that embodies the elements of a growing relationship with Our Lord. Through four specific phases - evangelization or precatechumenate; catechumenate; purification and enlightenment; and mystagogy - the inquirers move from casual acquaintance to full commitment. The process can take from several months to a couple years to complete.