There is a process of preparation before RCIA culminates in the reception of the sacraments and there is a a period of contemplation after the sacraments. There are differences in the preparation of those already baptized, but by and large the whole initiation process has five main parts:
Inquiry - When those interested in coming into full communion with the Catholic Church ask questions about the Church, the Faith, and the RCIA process in order to decide whether to begin RCIA. Inquiry happens all year round, although it picks up momentum in late Spring, Summer, and early Fall. Of course, if you are interested in joining or coming into full communion with the Catholic Church, please feel free to contact Sabrina any time.
Catechesis - When those in RCIA learn the fundamentals of the Catholic Faith. In our parish, this period occurs at about the same time as the Fall semester and the beginning of the Spring.
Spiritual Preparation - When those preparing for full communion draw on what they have learned to focus on spiritual readiness for reception of the sacraments. This period of time corresponds to the liturgical season of Lent and is roughly simultaneous with the Spring semester.
Reception of the Sacraments - This usually happens at the Easter Vigil.
Mystagogia - This is a time of gratitude for the gifts received. We enter a deeper reflection on the mysteries of the Faith. Mystagogia corresponds to the Easter Season (late Spring, into Summer).