Ever since the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, the Catholic Church has preached the Gospel and welcomed people from every corner of the world to join her as disciples of Jesus Christ.
This is the very identity of the Catholic Church, to spread the Good News to all nations. Just before Jesus ascended into heaven, he told his apostles:
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo,
I am with you always, to the close of the age.
Becoming a Christian in the first centuries involved a sharp break with the surrounding Roman culture. New Catholics entered into a way of living which demanded deep commitment and often risked their lives to become Christian. In the modern world, our faith also demands deep commitment because our beliefs and the values of our society often conflict.
RCIA involves several stages which together help someone move from an initial motivation to deeper relationship with Jesus and his Church. The high point of this process is the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist) which are ordinarily received by adults at the Easter Vigil Mass.
The Catholic Church honors baptism as a sacrament that may be validly received even in Christian communities and traditions that are not Catholic. Therefore, we never re-baptize those who have already received a valid baptism. Those who have already been baptized are prepared to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church and receive the sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Communion at the time of their reception.
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