Becoming Catholic

Welcome! Whether you opened this page because you are interested in looking into becoming Catholic or you are just interested in knowing more about Catholics, the Church or the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), please know that we welcome you here at the Catholic Information Center.

The RCIA is a process of spiritual and educational formation through which adults explore the Catholic Faith and become fully initiated members of the Roman Catholic Church.

The RCIA process is all about conversion, communion and discipleship. It is about growth and change taking place in our hearts and minds so that we can more fully live in relationship with God and each other. It is about living our faith, and exploring what belief in God means for our lives. The RCIA is not a class or a bunch of hoops that one must jump through to join the Catholic Church. Rather RCIA assists you in becoming a living, breathing, active disciple of Christ, and a participant in the life of God.

There are three general groups of people who come into the Church through the RCIA.

Adults who have not been baptized.

The RCIA is primarily intended for un-baptized adults, who, upon hearing the Gospel message and receiving formation in the Christian way of life, choose to become followers of Christ by receiving the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist.

Adults Baptized in other Christian denominations.

The RCIA process also serves adults baptized in another Christian denomination or community who are now interested in exploring the Catholic Christian Faith and perhaps living out their Christian life in the Catholic Church. We do not baptize again anyone whose baptism was performed with water and the Trinitarian formula (invoking the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). These men and women are welcomed into full communion with the Catholic Church.

Adults Baptized Catholic but have not received First Communion.

The RCIA is also for adults who were baptized in the Catholic faith, but did not grow up practicing this faith or receiving regular formation or additional sacraments. While already a part of the full communion of the Catholic Church due to their Catholic baptism, these men and women seek to complete their sacraments of initiation with the celebration of Confirmation and Eucharist.

RCIA is comprised of a series of stages of formation, each with a slightly different focus. Each is marked by a ritual celebration transitioning a person from one stage to the next.

Inquiry
One can enter into this stage at any time during the year. This period is marked by unpacking the Sunday Scriptures, and answering the questions that the “inquirer” has about faith, God and Church and its teachings. This is a time of initial discernment to see if becoming Catholic is the right step for you. We gather together weekly.

Stage one: Catechumenate
Three times a year, we celebrate our first ritual which publicly celebrates one’s desire to officially enter formation for initiation into the Catholic Church. This Rite of Welcome moves us into our first stage of formation. From this point on, we attend Sunday Mass together, each participant is given a sponsor/companion and our discussion meetings will be either before or after Sunday mass. We continue to reflect deeply on the Sunday scripture, and in a small group we examine related Catholic beliefs, teachings, customs,traditions and prayer.

Stage two: Purification and Enlightenment
At the beginning of Lent, (the 40 days prior to Easter), we celebrate another ritual to recognize our progress of being formed in the faith. It signals our readiness to begin final preparations for receiving the sacraments. This period of formation, which coincides with the season of Lent, is more reflective and prayerful.

Stage three: Reception of Sacraments
For those looking for Baptism we celebrate the Sacraments and full initiation into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil Service on Holy Saturday (the evening before Easter Sunday). Those seeking full communion with the Catholic Church can participate in this same service or be received in November as well depending on when they are ready.

After reception of the Sacraments we will continue with the new Catholics in a period called Mystagogia. The terms means to unpact the mystery.  During this period participants continue to discern God’s movement in their lives and their own engagement in the community.

Yes you can become Catholic. Being divorced is in and of itself not the “serious” issue. The issue is only if you have remarried or are intending to remarry. Then it would be necessary to go through the annulment process.  We would need to talk  about getting an annulment prior to your becoming Catholic. These things get a little technical. Just know that we are there to help you through this. It is best if you talk with Fred Johnson about this subject if you think it might apply to you.

After the inquiry period and depending on when one starts, it is a meeting once a week for approximately 6 months. After Inquiry this includes attendance at Sunday Mass. The RCIA process is definitely a commitment of time and energy but it is also a time of enrichment.

This is a big step. It can get complicated with family expectations and life commitments. Just know we are all on this journey of faith; you do not have to walk it alone. Our RCIA team and our parish is excited to walk along side of you as you discern how God might be inviting you into a deeper relationship.

If you are unsure this is the right step for you, that’s okay. Take one step at a time. We welcome folks who are still exploring, still seeking. You are not making a life long commitment at this time. RCIA at its best helps people find their way on their spiritual journey.  If in the process you discern this isn’t the right fit for you, or not the right time, that is ok, too!

Please contact Fred Johnson  at (616) 456-1454 ext.1908.  We would love to hear from you.

Questions? Please contact

Irene Strom, Director of Programming

(616) 459-7267 ext. 1801

istrom@catholicinformationcenter.org