Baptism of Children of Catechetical Age
Who are "Children of Catechetical Age"?
Children who have reached age seven, up to age eighteen, are regarded by the Church as reponsible persons with free will and a capacity for personal faith. Therefore any unbaptized child of seven years or more is expected to approach the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) through the Rite of Christian Initation for Adults adapted for Children (RCIA-C).
How long does it take?
The Sacraments of Initiation are usually celebrated at the Easter Vigil, and the Church requires preparation to last for at least one year. So the process take about a year and a half, from around September in one year to Easter a year and a half later (for example, September 2015 to Easter 2017). During the first year, the children meet as part of the Elementary Faith Development program at 11:00 AM on Sundays. During the second year, they participate in the Liturgy of the Word at the 11:15 AM Mass, and are then dismissed to further study until 1:00 PM.
How are parents involved?
The Church cannot prepare children for initiation without the consent of parents, and indeed without their active support. Parents are asked to bring their children to Mass each Sunday and ensure that they participate in catechetical sessions every week. Parents need to make faith and prayer a part of family life at home, and to work with catechists to find sponsors and godparents for their children.
Often parents of children in the RCIA-C have particular spiritual and catechetical needs of their own. Some may also be preparing for initiation into the Church through the
, or may be Returning Catholics, for whom the
program is suitable.
Where can I find out more?
RCIA for Adults
at St. Thomas More
at the Archdiocese of St. Louis
Confused by all the "Catholic Language"?
See this Glossary of RCIA Terms