Rites of Acceptance and Election
The first major rite of the RCIA process, the Rite of Acceptance, is held several times each year at Sunday Mass. At this ceremony, inquirers are marked with the sign of the cross on the ears, eyes, lips, heart, shoulders, hands, and feet — a symbol of both the joys and the costs of Christian discipleship. This ritual begins their period of catechumenate.
Catechumenates join Sunday Mass during the Liturgy of the Word, after which they move to another place to continue reflecting on the Scriptures. The length of this period of study varies according to individual need. Catholic children are expected to have at least two years of study in preparation for their Confirmation. The norm for adults is a year or more.
The catechumenate period ends with the Rite of Election. This rite is held on the first Sunday in Lent. In a ceremony performed by the bishop of the diocese, catechumens receive the Call to Continuing Conversion. The bishop formally acknowledges the readiness of the catechumens and calls them to the Sacraments of Initiation. They respond by expressing their desire for these sacraments.