This unit presumes a knowledge of and some experience in the implementation of the RCIA. It aims at deepening and broadening the understanding of the RCIA by studying the theology underpinning the Rite. The unit will explore the following topics: the role of Jesus and the role of the Trinity in the RCIA process; the theology of conversion; the meaning and praxis of catechesis; the theology and the historical development of the sacraments of initiation; the role of the word of God in the process of conversion; the theology of Church and of communion; the theology of ministry and of ministers of the RCIA; the theology and the relationship of the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist; mystagogia as commitment, communion and mission.

Unit code: CT9111C

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Systematic Theology

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Explain the theology underpinning the RCIA and outline the main stages of its historical development


Evaluate an understanding of the theological and pastoral reasons for the Church’s revision of the initiation rites of adults since Vatican II


Interpret the theological principles underlying evangelisation, conversion, catechesis and mystagogia


Distinguish the relationship of the three sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist


Demonstrate a theological understanding of the sacramentality of the Word of God in the process of conversion


Define, plan and undertake a topic of research in a critically rigorous, sustained and self-directed manner

Unit sequence

CT8010C or equivalent and DL810C or equivalent are recommended



Indicative Bibliography

  • Aucella, Laurence F. Predicting Success in Completing the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Pittsburg (PA): Dorrance Publishing Co. 2020.
  • Capra, Elio. Called Gifted Sent: The Sacraments of Christian Initiation and the Triduum. Melbourne: James Goold House, 2010.
  • ———. Come and See: Resources for the Precatechumenate. Thornbury: Des Books, 2015.
  • Marchal, Michael H. The Spirit at Work: Conversion and the RCIA. Franklin Park, IL: WLP, 2010.
  • Radcliffe, Timothy OP. Take the Plunge: Living Baptism and Confirmation. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2012. Ebook:
  • Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Strathfield, NSW: St Pauls Publications, 2003. (recommended for purchase)
  • Turner, Paul. The Hallelujah Highway: A History of the Catechumenate. Chicago: Liturgical Training Publications, 2000.
  • ———. Celebrating Initiation. A guide for priests. Franklin Park, IL: WLP, 2007.
  • Wagner, Nick. The Way of Faith. New London, CT: Twenty-Third Publications, 2010.
  • Way Kinner, Christine. The Joy of Keeping the Faith: Thriving in the Church After RCIA. New London (CT): Twenty-Third Publications, 2020.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

2500 word essay

2500 40.0

4500 word essay

4500 60.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 16 Aug, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-08-16 15:54:29 +1000