Receiving Sacraments


I posed this question to an Apologist but, while I’m awaiting the response, I thought I would also ask here to see if any experienced Catholics can answer the question.

I’m wondering if anyone wanting to make their sacraments in the Catholic Church must attend RCIA or RCIC classes? Or, can a child be homeschooled in order to prepare to receive the sacraments? Or can an adult be self-taught in order to prepare to receive the sacraments?

Is there a standard curriculum or doctrine or prayers that one must master and demonstrate to the Church before receiving the sacraments?

FYI: I went to Catholic School as a child over 20 years ago and so I was prepared by the school to make my sacraments. My daughter is currently 7 years old and is enrolled in RCIC classes; however, I am wondering if I could homeschool her?


Adding: I just found a link on my church’s website that shows that the following prayers are required for making First Communion:

Sign of the Cross
Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be
Act of Contrition

Also, I have been sitting on each RCIC class every Sunday since September 14th so, I’m aware of what my daughter is learning in class. I’m already doing my own part to educate her, which is above and beyond what is being taught in the class.


The answers to your questions can vary by diocese and parish. Talk to your pastor.


KCT has the best answer. Talk to your parish priest. In many EF only parishes, the priest will give one on one instruction.


RCIA is not a class. It is a rite (or series of rites) of the Catholic Church.

Receiving the sacraments of initiation is not about passing a test or meeting certain knowledge requirements. “Readiness” for the rites involves a number of factors.

Readiness for the sacraments includes formation through catechesis (handing on the Sacred Word and tradition); formation in and through the Christian community; formation in liturgical prayer; and formation in apostolic service and witness.

How can this be a do-it-yourself process? The catechumen needs the whole Christian community to prepare, and the community, in turn, needs the catechumen.


As has been mentioned, you need to ask at your parish to find out what sort of instruction your daughter can receive.

A piece of information that you haven’t given is whether or not your daughter is baptized. The normal way for a healthy unbaptized adult (and your daughter qualifies as an adult) to be received into the Church is through RCIA, and thus be baptized, confirmed, and receive First Communion at the Easter Vigil. (RCIC is really just RCIA adapted for “young adults.”)

Assuming your daughter is unbaptized, you still might be permitted to be the one who is her primary teacher for the instruction aspect of RCIA but she would still have to go through the rites themselves.


OK, what are the “rites”? I’ve attended seven hours of RCIA with her and, so far, it has only been about learning the prayers (including saying a decade of the rosary), learning about the Liturgy (Readings, Responsorial Psalm and Gospel) and some discussion of Saints lives.

To answer your question, no, my daughter wasn’t baptized. I would like to have her baptized now, as opposed to waiting for the other sacraments at Easter Vigil. I was baptized in the Catholic Church as an infant, attended Catholic Schools through the 8th grade and received my other sacraments during that time. I don’'t remember how exactly I was taught nor do I remember any “rites”.

The thing is… her class is a little chaotic… I think it’s too big (36 students) and many of them are not English speaking and the Catechist is not a Spanish speaker. There seems to be a general lack of respect for the time class starts, which is 10:45 am. There is a constant stream of parents/children coming through the door from 10:45 am through 11:15 am! and at least a few stragglers coming in as late as 11:30 am! The class ends at 11:45 am.

Also, although my daughter is of the requisite age (7) and attending 2nd grade, she is severely dyslexic and unable to read fluently at this point.

We say a decade of the rosary (sometimes a whole rosary) every night before bed. On Saturday nights I read her Sunday’s gospel and readings and we talk about the messages therein. I engage her in thinking about the readings and how they apply to her own life. I take her to Mass every Sunday before we attend her RCIC class. I’ve also made her her own personal, pictorial “children’s missal” which she takes to Mass with her and follows along. It includes some quiet activities that I have been getting from online catholic homeschooling resources, like

I just think we both find the unfortunate situation of the RCIC class to be frustrating on many different levels.


I believe that RCIC/RCIA are normative but not mandatory. Talk to the pastor or religious ed director and ask if there is a homeschool possibility for your daughter.


In a parish that celebrates the Sacraments according to the Missal of Pope St. John XXIII, there is no such thing as RCIA. Candidates and catechumens are prepared through private instruction by the priest, and then the Sacraments are administered at the appropriate time.


Well, for starters, RCIA should be about learning the History of Salvation, the life of Christ, and what the Church teaches on a host of topics. Praying the rosary is a great devotion, but one that should come later…there’s far too much material to cover before private devotions. And I’m a rosary lover and maker. The time would be better spent in learning what Catholics believe and know about Our Lady and her role in salvation history.
Secondly, the class for Sacramental prep for First Communion of children should be a separate class, not part of the regular Sunday school or Faith Formation fro children.
Our Archdiocese requires a separate number of hours dedicated to specifically Eucharist prep.
Sounds like you are doing well by her. I trust she will turn out fine.
But I would speak to the DRE about your other concerns.
Why is she in RCIA to begin with? Was she never baptized?


There are several periods of RCIA separated by rites.

Period of Inquiry
Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens
Period of the Catechumenate
Rite of Election
Period of Purification and Enlightenment
During this period - Scrutinies
Sacraments of Initiation
Period of Mystagogy


The rites are,

The rite of welcome
The rite of election
The scrutinies,
Maybe one more (I seem to feel I’m missing one)

I would encourage you to do whatever your parish has set up. It is an opportunity to learn, form parish relationships, spiritually prepare, and receive catechesis that is generally really lacking.


It sounds like you are doing an excellent job 'homeschooling" her. :thumbsup:

Sounds like the RCIC class could use about five of you.


I’m going to read about these ASAP. I do not recall this when I was preparing for Confirmation in 1983-84.

And 7 year old children follow this same order?


Thank you Guanophore. But I had no idea about these Rites… I will be investigating and learning them…hopefully I can teach them to my daughter too.

PS. On about the 4th Sunday all the kids in the various classes were taken to a brief mini-mass and Adoration in the Church. The priest did talk about the Eucharist and how Jesus was present in it.


A 7-year-old is an adult for baptismal purposes so yes, they follow the same order.

Things are different for someone baptized as an infant, receiving first communion around 7, then being confirmed sometime in the teen years. They don’t participate in the various rites of RCIA.


Yes they do! Thank you for the list…that is exactly right.

If you were confirmed as a Catholic then you would not have received these. These are rites for the unbaptized, but often any convert to the church, baptized or not goes through a lot of these.


Ok, I’m reading what I can find online. From this link:

I would presume that they consider the children to be in the Period of Catechumenate in which it states that using the Readings respective of the liturgical year are sufficient to introduce them to the doctrines of the Church. So that is probably why the catechist is focused on the readings in the class. But, I have to say, there has been very little “discussion” with the kids about the readings, much less letting them offer their own insights. The only real participation from the kids is when they are engaged in prayers.

The catechist did say that on Sunday November 9th, the children would be standing up mass when the priest announces/asks those who are in the RCIC classes if they wish to proceed with making their sacraments at Easter Vigil. I am supposing this is the Rite of Election?


You wouldn’t have, if you were already Catholic. these Rites are for people who are converting. They are something you go through, not something to study per se.
I think we have to clarify some of the vocabulary here.


No it is the rite of acceptance.

The rite of election is during lent with the bishop.

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