Welcoming New Members


Updates & Events

RCIA - Rite of Christian Initation of Adults (TCI PM203)
The Catholic Institute of Aotearoa New Zealand
Lecturer: Kate Bell
Saturdays 2, 9, 16, 30 July, 13, 27 August  10am-2pm
Venue: St Mary's Hall, Taradale, Palmerston North

For further information contact Nick Wilson, TCI Coordinator
nwilson@pndiocese.org.nz or 06 354 1780 ex 830


National Policy on the RCIA


View a copy of Welcoming New Members. View a copy of a Model RCIA Calendar.

Pastoral Letter


  1. Welcoming new members is one of the most wonderful experiences in the life of the Church. It brings new life and vigour not only to the newly baptised but to the whole Church community. 
  2. In the early Church, people seeking baptism spent a long time in formation. As more people were baptised as infants, this process, known as the catechumenate, almost disappeared.
  3. When the bishops of the Second Vatican Council were considering effective ways to spread the Good News to the world in the twentieth century and to enrich the life of the Church with new members, they decided to restore the adult catechumenate.
  4. Introduced in 1972 and presented in final form in 1986, the Church’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is now the norm for all who desire to become Catholic.

    Children of catechetical age should be initiated in the same manner as adults (RCIA 3). 
  5. So the rite is not optional: it is the normative way that the Catholic Church welcomes new members.
  6. To people who grew up with the notion of Church as a place where the priest did all the important things, the RCIA presents a vision of the Church that is vastly different. The RCIA involves everyone – all Catholics, laity and ordained alike, share the work of responding to those who desire to follow Christ with us, as members of the Catholic Church.
  7. What happens in the liturgical rites of the RCIA journey is powerful and important. The catechumens and candidates learn to ‘turn more readily to God in prayer’ as they pray with the community. They walk with catechists and sponsors to come ‘to a profound sense of the mystery of salvation’, and learn ‘how to work actively with others to spread the Gospel and build up the Church’ (RCIA 75).
  8. The Rite tells us that, as well as initiating people into the teachings of the Church, we are initiating them into a community of believers who express their belief in the liturgy they celebrate together and in the lives they lead.
  9. The RCIA challenges us, as a community, to be:
    • people of the Word
    • people of Eucharist
    • people of hospitality
    • people of the story of salvation history
    • people of conversion
    • people of mission.
  10. The role of this community, beautifully expressed in the words of the Rite itself, is ‘to surround the Elect with prayer, so that the entire Church will accompany and lead them to encounter Christ’ (RCIA 108).
  11. The implementation of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults in parishes is to be in accord with the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference Policy Welcoming New Members.

+John Dew
Archbishop of Wellington
President NZCBC

+Denis Browne
Bishop of Hamilton

+Charles Drennan
Bishop of Palmerston North

 +Peter Cullinane
Bishop Emeritus 
of Palmerston North

Approved by the NZCBC
8 July 2012

+Patrick Dunn
Bishop of Auckland 
Secretary NZCBC

+Colin Campbell
Bishop of Dunedin

+Barry Jones
Bishop of Christchurch 



Promulgatedby the NZCBC
20 July 2012