What should I expect from starting the RCIA classes? Tips?


Well, I imagine some people on here might recognize my username since I post on here a lot. Anyways, I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I decided to take RCIA classes to understand my in-law’s religion better. I have no intent on converting and RCIA starts at a local parish this week. I’m attending and I’m a bit nervous because I don’t know what to expect.

The priest there, who I have been talking to through email regarding the classes, has been kind and patient with me. I let him know today that I’m coming and I was wondering if you guys have any tips on what I should expect regarding it.

What happens when a person (such as myself) decides not to convert at the end?
How long does the program last?


Don’t worry, they grade on a curve.


What does that mean?


He is making a joke.


By the way, the classes are different depending on who is the teacher.


It depends on the parish and the person teaching it, you mean? Do different parishes do RCIA differently than another?


It means that the class is nothing to be anxious/nervous about. RCIA classes will vary considerably. Read Father Trigilio’s book ‘Catholicism for Dummies’ if you want a short intro, or google the Catechism of the Catholic Church for a more detailed book.


Well, the program generally is about 8 months but it varies by parish.

No obligation to convert. Nobody is gonna be calling and knocking on your door if you do not want to convert. Although the inquiry stage only lasts for a couple months. Then you will be asked if you want to continue. My experience is that people not interested in converting normally just stop going. They might let you still sit in on classes even if you tell then you have no intention of converting but wish to learn more.

These are general classes and my experience is that most who attended are Catholics who just need to receive their sacraments. So it’s kinda taught most the time at my parish going on the fact that most already believe in The Catholic faith. So you will really have to ask questions if you want questions answered. Things you may want to know may not be talked about. I went in to rcia wanting to know everything about the protestant reformation but that was hardly talked about. The class is best utilized while doing your own research along with it. Only so much can be covered in a 2 hour class once a week


The format may be different from parish to parish, but it’s all the same. As someone who went through RCIA, I’ll tell you that RCIA is very basic in terms of what it does. It teaches you basic Catholic beliefs and teachings, but it is no substitute for you doing your own research. Try to get a foot in your church early. Start volunteering. Beef up your prayer life. Find good Catholic friends.


At my parish, first night was just an intro. The priest talked to us about the importance of prayer, laid some basic groundwork, and got us at least a little familiar with some of what we’d see at Mass without going too deep into the doctrine.

After that, we went more in-depth on key doctrines, the sacraments, moral issues (e.g. sex, marriage, pro-life stuff, etc.), and the Mass. There were a few rites during the process, but you aren’t obligated to participate if you have no intention on converting.

At least at my parish, nothing, and it is pretty standard as far as I know. Along with those who might need marriages annulled, some just choose not to convert.

It’ll go until around Easter, and there will probably be Mystagogy afterwards, but that’s really geared more towards the new converts from Easter.


Oh yeah, how good the class is will depend largely on who is teaching. You may get someone who has a degree in theology or you may get someone who only knows the basics themselves. Sad to say, sometimes unorthodox people even teach sometimes. I hope that is unusual but it has happened before. That’s also why doing your own research is important too.


Tips? Don’t worry about it. They are mostly very relaxed. Every parish approaches rcia differently. I have attended classes led by a deacon, a lay person or several (they teach different parts). I have never been in a priest led class except for the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox.

The classes usually last a year, in some instances, two.

You do not have to convert. Many people drop out actually. Some due to scheduling problems. In my case I was once placed in a class with teenagers studying for comfirmation. I was given middle school material (?).

You are better off learning on your own. I love Scott Hahn’s books. Ask the priest, he may have a lending library.


Given your OP, I would simply counsel you to Listen. Ask any lifelong Catholic and they will tell you that the learning really never stops. You should get the basics, church history, sacraments, traditional teachings, and introduction to the church itself and the Mass, which is the great communal prayer of the Catholic Church.

I "taught’ RCIA myself for about 5 years. Every class is different, every teacher is a bit different, but the truths held by the church are the same. Above poster have suggested that you also engage in independent study. Couldn’t agree more.


RCIA at my parish was very good when my dh and I converted. Taught by 2 deacons with guest speakers like Priests and sisters. It was very interesting informative and I hope your experience will be, too! You can attend as an inquirer only and at my parish at least, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from attending all year. The classes went up until Easter and included 2 retreats that you would also be welcome to attend as far as I know. I think it’s great that you are willing to take the time to understand your in-law’s point of view like this.


just listen and be open minded. Put your biases and prejudices aside and think about what is being taught.


Why was kiwiwiki’s post flagged for asking what RCIA is?


Every RCIA cass is different in each parish.
It is a good way to learn about the Catholic faith. I would let your leader know you are not there to convert, but would like to sit in on the classes to learn about the faith and the Church.
As another poster said, I would read on your own also. Catholicism for Dummies was mentioned and I also recommend it.


Of course. That’s my intent: to learn about Catholicism.


what is your driving force at this time, to learn about Catholicism


I’ve been fascinated by Catholicism for years and the driving force behind it is curiosity to know and understand what my in-laws believe. It’s curiosity most of all.

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