Sections 4 through 8 cover the structure of the adult initiation rites. RCIA 4 is a section every catechumenate directors knows, quotes, and lives:
4. The initiation of catechumens is a gradual process that takes place within the community of the faithful. By joining the catechumens in reflecting on the value of the paschal mystery and by renewing their own conversion, the faithful provide an example that will help the catechumens to obey the Holy Spirit more generously.
A small section, but it contains four important points worth considering carefully. the first two are very important:
First, the initiation of adults is gradual. While it recognizes key moments (aha! moments?) in the life of faith, it recognizes a certain sobriety in commiting to Christ. While we read of disciples leaving behind family and career on the spot to follow Jesus, the reality is that for most all people, becoming a Christian is a serious undertaking. The Church wants newcomers to take this very, very seriously, aware of the ramifications of what they are doing.
Initiation takes place within a community, not within a pastor’s office. The Church wants us to be careful about the cult of personality. There is a realistic notion that people are becoming Catholics, not becoming followers or worse, groupies, of a particular person. My current pastor related a few times in which a Protestant came to our parish and enjoyed it. Before you switch, he counselled, visit other Catholic parishes and make sure you are coming over not just to a campus parish that does things a little outside the mainstream, but to a Catholic Church you can live with and grow with in your future adult experience.
The community serves as an example to newcomers. As much as we believers are open to and embrace our continuing conversion, new believers see and align with the example we give. If our example is strong, they will be inspired to adapt to it.
The Trinity, as we see it, is not a compartmentalized thing. The Spirit, for example, doesn’t wait for Confirmation, but is truly active in the life of the unbaptized. We recognize this. We pray accordingly.