The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (often abbreviated RCIA) is the process through which interested adults and older children are gradually introduced to the Roman Catholic faith and way of life.
The RCIA is a communal process and involves a number of stages punctuated by liturgical rites to aid and assist the potential convert toward the final rite, usually at the Easter Vigil at which time they will become full members of the Roman Catholic Church. The entire process takes several months, (ideally a minimum of one complete liturgical year), but participants are generally invited to proceed at a pace which suits them individually. The Church prefers to call this a process and not a program.
For those who join an RCIA process it is a period of reflection, prayer, instruction, discernment, and formation. There is no set timetable and those who join the process are encouraged to go at their own pace, taking as much time as they need.