Thanks guys! I guess ceremony is the closest without a longer explanation. Here is my whole intro to RCIA if anyone is interested. Please feel free to comment!
RCIA stands for the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. It is the process by which adults are gradually initiated into the life and sacraments of the Catholic Church. It is comprised of various steps along the way and each transition is marked by a rite, or a special ceremony within the public liturgy. Underlying these are the classes where the individual learns the basics of the Catholic faith.
For the purposes of baptism, one is either an infant or adult. Infants are babies and children under the age of 7. They are baptized on the faith of their parents. Adults are anyone over the age of approximately 7 years old. Children of this age know right from wrong and are old enough to have a say in the decision to be baptized. They are baptized based on their own profession of faith. While we have separate classes for children, many of the Rites and the Easter Vigil itself are in conjunction with the adults.
The first step in the RCIA process is the inquiry period. It is a period of introductions and questioning. The individual is introduced to the community and begins to learn and experience the basics of faith.
Rite of Acceptance marks the first transition. In this rite, the individual makes known their desire to be prepared for baptism. Their parents, godparents, and the whole parish family promise to support them on this journey. After this point, the individual is known as a catechumen, a Greek word for the “instructed”.
The catechumenate is the “meat” of the RCIA process. It is marked by a greater learning of the Catholic faith as well as a deepening of the individuals own lived faith.
During this period, the catechumen attends the first part of Mass, the Liturgy of the Word, then, after the homily is dismissed to “reflect more deeply upon the word of God”.
Rites of Sending and Election are the transition to the next period. The Rite of Sending takes place in our local parish. The catechumen signs their name in the Book of the Elect and the parish expresses their support and sends the catechumens to the Rite of Election with the bishop. In the Rite of Election the bishop formally calls the catechumens to the Easter Sacraments. The individual is now a member of the elect.
The Period of Purification and Enlightenment coincides with Lent and is the final period of preparation before the Easter Vigil. It is a period of reflection and coming closer to God.
The Scrutinies take place on the third, fourth, and fifth Sundays of Lent. They help to purify the hearts of the elect and strengthen their spirits in the last few weeks before the Easter Vigil.
The Easter Vigil is the highlight of the whole church year. It is the first celebration of the Resurrection. The whole church celebrates with the new members as they receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and First Communion. The individual is now a neophyte, meaning “newly planted”.
The last period is called mystagogy, meaning mystery. It allows the new Catholic to sort through all of their new experiences and to grow in their new found faith.
Because the sacrament of baptism wipes away all sins, confession is not necessary before the Easter Vigil. Therefore, we prepare for and celebrate First Reconciliation during the period of mystagogy.
Growing in the Catholic faith is something that never ends. The RCIA process is the beginning of the journey, not the end. We are all called to participate in the life of the church, through attending Mass each week, participating in the sacraments, helping the poor, and learning more about our faith.