Catechumen: One who is not baptized and is preparing for full initiation at the Easter Vigil through baptism, confirmation and eucharist.
Candidate: One who is already baptized either in the Catholic Church or another Christian faith and who is preparing to complete his/her Christian initiation through confirmation and eucharist.
Catechumentate: Second period of the order of Christian initiation of adults which involves intense preparation in word, worship, community life and apostolic works.
Elect: The name given to the catechumens who celebrate the Rite of Election on the first Sunday of Lent with the bishop, signifying their being chosen for the initiation sacraments at Easter.
Godparent: The Godparent serves as companion for the Christian life for the elect. The Godparent helps the elect integrate into the Catholic community by offering ongoing support, care and the sharing of faith.
Sponsor: A sponsor accompanies any catechumen or candidate through the catechumenate period. Sponsors are persons who get to know their catechumens or candidates and can stand as witnesses to the catechumens’ or candidates’ moral character, faith and intention.
Rite of Election: This is the rite that is celebrated by the bishop, which proclaims the catechumens ready for their celebration of the sacraments of initiation at Easter. This is celebrated on the first Sunday of Lent.
Rite of Calling the Candidates to Continuing Conversion: This is the rite that proclaims the candidates ready for their completion of the sacraments of Christian initiation.
The RCIA at a Glance: a chart that overviews the different periods, aims, contents, and time frames of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.