The Basilica of Saint Mary
June 26, 2017
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The Basilica of Saint Mary
We are located on Hennepin Avenue between 16th & 17th Streets in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Phone: 612.333.1381
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  January 16, 2014
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  December 27, 2013
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  December 6, 2013
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12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Becoming Catholic

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)

Welcome to The Basilica of Saint Mary Catholic Community! We are glad that you are here and we want to try and answer some of your questions.

RCIA is a collaborative process of study, exploration, faith sharing, and faith formation for non-baptized adults interested in membership in the Catholic Church, as well as previously baptized Christians who wish to be fully initiated into the Catholic Church through the sacraments of Baptism, Communion and Confirmation.

RCIA Classes

RCIA classes are for inquiring adults interested in becoming a member of the Church, their sponsors, and other RCIA team members. The group meets Tuesday evenings from September to May for approximately two hours.  To sign up for RCIA, fill in a Registration Form and contact Paula Kaempffer 612.317.3473 for an informational meeting.

RCIA Celebration

The Rites of Christian Initiation of Adults are celebrated mainly at the Easter Vigil and throughout the year as needed. Contact the Learning Office for more information.

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) for Children

The RCIA for Children program is especially designed to bring children into the Catholic Church.   

It is offered to children ages 7-17 who have not been baptized. This two-year program focuses on empowering parents as the primary catechists of their children with the support of the Basilica community. During the first year, parents participate in RCIA while their child(ren) participate(s) in our Learning programs on Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings. Initiation into the Church is celebrated at the Easter Vigil. Contact Christine Moore 612.317.3435 for more information.

A Short History

By the late third and early fourth centuries the of way in which one became a Christian was very much established. Important to the process was a time of preparation and discernment spread over a long period of time (about three years). The actual initiation, which was celebrated during the Easter Vigil involved immersion in water, a generous anointing with oil and a sharing in the Eucharistic banquet.

The sixth and seventh centuries brought the decline in the ritual as infant baptism became the norm and this process died out and was separated into Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.

The second Vatican Council restored this process and reintroduced the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) with its beautiful rituals. Baptism of adults again became the norm after which infant baptism was modeled.

2011 RCIA participants celebrate joining the Catholic Church. »


What is RCIA? The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is a process of study, exploration, faith sharing, and faith formation with specific liturgical rites for seekers and inquirers. Seekers and inquirers are non-baptized adults who desire to be fully initiated into the Roman Catholic Church and/or baptized adult Christians who desire full communion in the Roman Catholic Church.

Adults or older children who have not been baptized and desire to join the Church are invited into the ancient celebration of the Rites of Christian Initiation of Adults. During this process, which is marked by regular ritual acts, participants are introduced to the liturgy, the teachings, and the life of the Catholic Church.

Adults or older children who were baptized in another Christian denomination prepare in a similar way for the sacraments of Confirmation and the Eucharist during their reception into the Catholic Church.

Who leads the RCIA process? Paula Kaempffer, Director of Learning, directs the RCIA  process and is assisted by a dedicated team of parishioners who are trained to coordinate various areas of the formation.

If I Begin, Am I Obligated to Become a Catholic? There is no obligation or pressure to make any kind of commitment to become a Catholic. We respect the conscience and decision of every inquirer. Because of your association with us we would hope that you would gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of Catholic beliefs and practices.

I Think I'd Like to Begin But I'm Still Hesitant? If there is some concern or reason that you are reluctant to begin the RCIA, feel free to contact Paula Kaempffer to discuss your particular concern or situation. Of course, there will be no obligation and confidentiality will be respected.

How Does One Become Catholic? Most Catholics are born into Catholic families and gradually come to share in the full sacramental life of the Church. Others, who may have been previously baptized in a non-Catholic Christian Church, have become Catholics after making a solemn profession of faith, being confirmed and sharing Eucharist with the Catholic community. And some, never baptized, have been initiated through a process that leads to baptism, confirmation and Eucharist at the Church's annual celebration of Easter.

The Catholic Church warmly welcomes new members and tries to provide an appropriate spiritual formation according to each person's needs. RCIA is the Church's way of initiating new members.

Who May Attend the RCIA?

  • Person's interested in learning about Catholicism. 
  • Persons who have never been baptized.
  • Persons who have been baptized in another Christian faith tradition and are now interested in the Catholic tradition.
  • Persons who were baptized in the Catholic tradition but were not raised Catholic, and are seeking the sacrament of Confirmation.

What Does the RCIA Involve? The RCIA meets each Tuesday evening from September through May and attendance at Mass on Sundays is strongly encouraged.

What Topics Are Discussed? The sessions cover a broad range of topics because our Catholic beliefs encompass the whole fabric of our lives. Topics include Scripture, God, Son and Holy Spirit, Church history, heaven and hell, the papacy, Mary and the saints, the problem of evil, sin and reconciliation, conscience and moral decision making, baptism, confirmation, the Mass, anointing of the sick, marriage, ministry, justice and many others.

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