Does your RCIA process go year-round? Survey results

RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) image posted by TeamRCIA The results of the TeamRCIA survey on how and when you schedule your RCIA process are in. More than 300 people responded to the survey, and we are very grateful for your participation.

Your RCIA team is ahead of the curve

I want to say at the top that I do not believe these results reflect national averages. I think those who subscribe to the TeamRCIA newsletter and make use of the resources on the website are quite far ahead of the curve when it comes to living into the vision of implementing a true conversion process. And the survey results bear that out. So congratulations for all the great work you are doing in your parishes!

Year-round inquiry

The first piece of exciting news is that a large proportion of you accept inquirers into your process at any time of the year. 44% of you said that your precatechumenate begins whenever inquirers present themselves. And many of you who do have a specific date on which the precatechumenate begins still accept inquirers even if they show up after you have already begun.

TeamRCIA Webinar: Develop a Year-Round RCIA Process

with Nick Wagner and Diana Macalintal

In the next TeamRCIA webinar, Nick Wagner and Diana Macalintal will look at how moving to a year-round catechumenate process can begin to solve these problems. Specifically, we will discuss:

*Why an ongoing, year-round catechumenate is important to your parish
*What we mean when we say "year-round"
*How to implement an ongoing, year-round process
*What the long-term implications are of moving to a year-round process

Please join us for this important webinar. It could change the way you lead the catechumenate.

Date: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Time: 2:00p to 3:00p Eastern Time / 11:00a to 12:00p Pacific Time

Click here to purchase the recording of this webinar.

Next we asked when your catechumenate begins, and there was more good news. By far, the highest proportion of you—30%—said you schedule a Rite of Acceptance two or three times a year.

Easter bypass

And we wanted to know if your catechumenate always concluded on the First Sunday of Lent. That is, do some folks sometimes remain in the catechumenate while others move on to the period of purification and enlightenment. Here you were almost evenly divided. 49% said your catechumenate always ends with the Rite of Election while 44% said the catechumenate period sometimes continues through Lent and beyond.

Sunday reception into full communion

There also appears to be a shift in when baptized candidates are celebrating their sacraments. When I started out in catechumenate ministry, the baptized almost always celebrated confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil. For those who responded to the survey, that’s true in only 39% of the cases. 36% said that sacraments for the baptized might be celebrated at the Vigil or they might be celebrated at other times of the year. Only 7% said they are never celebrated at the Vigil.

One process for all

When it comes to your catechetical process, a full 65% of you said that you have a single process that includes both the baptized and the unbaptized. Only 13% reported having separate processes.

Regarding the mystagogical period, we still have a long way to go to meet the U.S. bishops’ vision that mystagogy would last for a full year after initiation. Only 8% reported that to be the case. 46% of you said that your mystagogy lasts for the 50 days of Easter. And 20% said that you only have one or two meetings after the Vigil.

Just do it

Regarding the question: “Has your parish moved from a time-limited catechumenate to an ongoing, year-round process?”, there was a wide variety of thoughtful answers. If you want to read all of them, click here to download the file.

Generally, the answers seemed to cluster into two categories. First, there are those of you who have moved to a year-round process. You tended to say that the biggest benefit to doing so was that you could be more responsive to the movement of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those seeking faith. You also offered advice to those who might be considering making the shift: “Just do it.”

The second category was those who have not moved to a year-round process. Often, parishes in this category tended to speak of the process as a series of classes or a body of content that required more volunteers to teach the material. And that seemed daunting.


That same struggle was reflected in the answers to the final question: “If your parish has not yet moved to an ongoing, year-round process, what is the biggest challenge that is preventing you?” The lack of volunteers to teach classes appeared again here. However, some respondents identified the pastor, the deacon, the RCIA team leader, or the team itself as the obstacle to moving forward. And a few of you said it was the parish as a whole that was fixated on a school-year model. Another recurring response was that no one is around in the summer.

You can also read the full set of responses to this question by clicking here to download the file.

We will be talking about these results and offering suggestions for some of the challenges you identified in the TeamRCIA webinar on October 25, 2012: “Develop a Year-Round RCIA Process.” Be sure to join us.

“Ink” courtesy of Salvatore Vuono (

See also these related articles:

  1. How to make parish renewal a byproduct of RCIA
  2. Your first small step toward a year-round RCIA process
  3. RCIA: Learn why year-round is easier
  4. The benefits and challenges of a year-round RCIA process
  5. Four easy ways to start a year-round RCIA process
  6. How long does RCIA take?
  7. Episode 47: Why parishes should never start RCIA
  8. Episode 26: Issues with year-round RCIA
  9. Episode 24: Real Presence and Summer RCIA
  10. Does your RCIA process go year-round? Survey results

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