A person who is considering the possibility of becoming a Catholic, or who simply wishes to learn more about the Catholic Church will find no better way to do this than to become a part of the RCIA process.
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is a process designed to form and inform inquirers who fall into three categories:
1. The unbaptized person
2. The person baptized into a faith tradition other than Catholic
3. The baptized Catholic who was neither confirmed nor reared as a Catholic.
The climax of the process comes when those who choose to do so are confirmed and baptized (if necessary) in the Catholic Church.
A few months after beginning the RCIA process, each inquirer is assigned a sponsor. This sponsor is not to be confused with a baptismal or confirmation sponsor. The RCIA sponsor is a practicing Catholic, usually a member of this parish, who goes through the sessions and rites (ceremonies) of the process with the inquirer, serving as a friend and mentor.
There are various periods and phases and rites in the RCIA process, which will be explained before the inquirer experiences them. To do so now would only be confusing. The only things that are important for the reader to understand now is that there is no charge and absolutely no pressure put upon an inquirer.
The RCIA is not a program or a class, but a sacramental formation process that prepares individuals and communities for a particular way of life as Catholic Christians. Conversion is at the heart of that way of life. Conversion is a turning around, an about-face; it is the change that happens when we allow God to love us enough that God reforms us.
In religious conversion we surrender ourselves to the all-loving God, who calls us from individual self-satisfaction a renewed and more authentic life in relationship with Him. Catholics understand conversion as a continuing process throughout our lives.