How Can I Become Catholic?
If you are un-baptized, then you will enter the church through baptism. If you are already baptized, then you will enter the Church by making a profession of faith. RCIA is the Church’s way of helping those who are considering joining the Catholic Church to grow in faith, while at the same time instructing them with regard to the beliefs of the Catholic Church.
Who is RCIA for?
RCIA is for: Those who have never been baptized; those who have been baptized in another Christian tradition; and those adult Catholics who would like to complete the Sacraments of Initiation (Eucharist and Confirmation). Through prayer and study of the Faith, those who participate in RCIA deepen their relationship with Christ and become more integrated within the faith community of SS John & Paul. The RCIA process is a time of exploration, where people can ask questions and learn about the Church. People coming from a different Christian tradition may have many specific questions about the Catholic Faith and practice, and this is a place where they can feel free to ask them. Those who come with little religious background will feel that they have even more to learn. All participants will find the opportunity to question, to think for themselves, and to take all the time they need to make a decision about joining the Church.
What are the Expectations for Those Involved in the RCIA Process?
You are expected to participate in the weekly sessions and liturgical celebrations. By attending Mass, the faith community will witness your commitment and come to know you and pray for you.
I’m not Much of a Student. Is This a “Class?”
The RCIA process should not be considered a “class.” We want you to discover God on a personal level. There are no tests and no grades. Each week, a member of the RCIA team will present a topic for general discussion by the candidates, companions and team members. The goal is conversion through a change of heart and a deepening of your relationship with Christ.
What Am I Expected to Know?
Your faith journey is a time of formation and conversion. Faith formation involves learning about the faith, practices, and doctrines, but we do not stop there. It is also about conversion. Your faith journey began before you contacted us and will continue throughout your life. Conversion is a time for you to grow in awareness of your relationship with God and with the Catholic Church. Bring an open heart and mind. You will learn to live out your call to be a disciple of Jesus within the Catholic Faith.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Catholic?
This question is answered differently by everyone and it is difficult to give a time frame at the beginning. There is no need to rush your faith journey. If you have not been baptized, the process usually takes about nine months. Adult baptisms are celebrated at the Easter Vigil. If you have already been baptized into another Christian faith tradition, you may require less time, depending on the faith formation you previously received and your present involvement in the practice of your faith. We want to listen to both your needs and desires. We also do not want to deprive you of the opportunity to discern God’s call at this important moment in your life. Time is needed for your faith formation as an adult and we ask that you be open to the process.
Why Does the RCIA Process Take Such a Long Time?
Faith is something that takes time to grow. RCIA is a process by which the seed of faith is nurtured and it takes different amounts of time for different people. Someone wanting to become Catholic must learn about the Faith before they can make a decision and that learning takes time. Like any relationship, a person’s relationship with God develops and it can’t be rushed. Everyone has their own pace as well as their own particular needs and questions. Most people end up truly appreciating the time they had to learn, pray, and get to know other people through the RCIA process. People often wish it could have lasted longer!
What if I Get Started and Decide This Isn’t For Me?
Faith in God and the decision to become a member of the Catholic Church are personal choices that must be made in an atmosphere of complete freedom. We will try our best to help you understand what it means to be a Catholic Christian. We sincerely believe that you must be allowed to use God’s gift of conscience and free will without feeling any pressure from us.
What is a Sponsor?
A sponsor is an active member of the Catholic Faith who is willing to be a friend and guide and participate in RCIA with you. If there is someone you know who is a practicing Catholic who would be willing to be your sponsor, please invite them. Otherwise, we will work with you to choose a sponsor from our faith community.
Can my Spouse or Intended be my Sponsor?
Absolutely! However, if you would like another member of the faith community, that is fine also. Whoever you choose, the sponsor must be a practicing Catholic who is willing to accompany you on your faith journey, not only during the RCIA process, but throughout your life.
I Have Been Through a Divorce – Will This Stand in the Way of my Becoming Catholic?
If you have been divorced and have not remarried, this will not stand in the way of you becoming Catholic. However, if you are remarried, or if your current spouse was divorced, we need to meet with you to discuss whether you are currently in a sacramental marriage. Issues relating to divorce and remarriage are very specific to your individual situation and are therefore best addressed in a one-on-one meeting with a priest, deacon, or an RCIA team member who has been trained to help with marriage issues.
What is the Time Commitment?
The RCIA program begins around the third week of September and continues until four or five weeks after Easter. The RCIA program at SS John & Paul is on Tuesday evenings from 7:30—9:00 PM in the Multi-Purpose Room next to the Grotto Chapel. It is also expected that you regularly attend weekly Mass and various liturgical rites associated with RCIA.
Is There a Cost for Participating in RCIA?
No. We supply everything that you need. We ask only that you bring a sincere desire to grow and to learn.