Initiation Process – Unbaptized

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults – The Unbaptized

(includes children of catechetical age)



Goal /Intent




Period of the Precatechumenate
# 36 – 40
of faith
Introduce the God revealed by Jesus (evangelization); help connect personal stories to the Christian story through focus on the Scripture especially the Gospels (conversion); surface questions; embrace a lifestyle as God intends; meet the Christian community already doing this.
Unspecified.  See
“Discerning the Appropriate Path” chart to help in discernment.
No specific rites.# 39 offers the option of a preliminary manner of receiving inquirers into this period.
US – NS 1: any service or prayer must be informal.
The Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens is celebrated after prayerful discernment among pastor, catechists and inquirer,
resulting in the determination that the inquirer is ready to move into a period of deeper formation (41 –47).
Period of the Catechumenate
# 75 – 80,
US – NS 6
Apprenticeship/ Training in the Christian life
Sharing a gradual and complete catechesis which includes celebrations of the word and presentation of teaching, accommodated to the liturgical year.
Apprenticing with the community in prayer, witness, hope and love of neighbor.
Celebrating a variety of liturgical rites including Liturgy of the Word with kindly dismissal from the Sunday assembly.
Engaging with the faith community in apostolic witness and works of charity and justice.
A minimum of one full liturgical year, but up to three years may be needed.
  • Celebrations of theWord
  • Dismissals
  • Blessings
  • Anointings
  • Minor Exorcisms
  • Sending of the Catechumens for Election (USA adaptation)
(May anticipate the Presentations of the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer).
The Rite of Election or Enrollment of Names is celebrated after prayerful discernment resulting in the determination that the catechumen is ready to receive the Sacraments of Initiation.  (US 118 – 123 / CAN 105 – 110 )
Period of Purification and Enlightenment
US 138 – 140 CAN 125 – 127
Intense spiritual preparation focusing on what needs to be changed, or is weak or sinful; and simultaneous strengthening and celebrating of what is holy.
Interior reflection: more like a retreat.  Penitential services, examinations of conscience, re-telling of God’s action in their lives, and a deepening relationship with the merciful and compassionate Christ.
Six weeks, usually coinciding with Lent.
  • Scrutinies
  • Presentations of the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer
  • Preparation Rites on Holy Saturday
Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation (Easter Vigil) US 206 /  CAN 198
Period of Postbaptismal Catechesis or MystagogiaUS 244 – 251  CAN 234 – 241
US – NS 24
Deepening the grasp of the Paschal Mystery by meditation on the Gospel, sharing in the Eucharist and doing the work of charity and justice.
Attending the Eucharist with the community, reflecting on the celebration of the sacraments and on the works of charity and justice, breaking open the Easter Gospels, engaging more fully with the faith community.
From celebration of Easter until Pentecost
US Adaptation:  extended for one full year until the anniversary of initiation.
No specific rites.The Sunday Eucharist and the neophytes’ celebration of the Eucharist with the bishop are the occasions marking this period.