Children and the RCIA
While many people join the Church as infants through the sacrament of baptism, for a variety of reasons some children aren’t baptized in infancy and at a later age decide for themselves or are encouraged by their families to join the Church.
The Church recognizes that those age 7 and older have the use of reason and can therefore make a decision to join the Church of their own free will. Children age 7 and older who come to the Church seeking Christian initiation participate in the same process (although separated) as adults who seek to be initiated into the Church. The age of the child is taken into consideration and the instructional components of the RCIA are geared to their level of comprehension. The child generally participates in the same components of the RCIA as any adult: inquiry, pre-catechumenate, catechumenate, purification and enlightenment, initiation (baptism, confirmation and eucharist), mystagogy and continuing formation.
Like all Christians the child will require ongoing formation as initiation into the Church is just the start of a Christian’s life. The child should participate in religious education appropriate for their age level, which typically means participating in weekly religious education meetings sponsored by the parish where they gain a greater knowledge of scripture, the teachings of the Church and its traditions.