For adults, there are two paths for becoming Catholic. One is for those who have never been baptized, and the other is for those who have been validly baptized in another Christian Denomination and who now wish to consider living their baptismal life according to the belief and practice of the Roman Catholic Church.
Path For Those Who Have Never Been Baptized
The path for those who have never been baptized follows what is called the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). This is the norm for the entire Catholic Church and is the restoration of the way people in the early Church were prepared for full initiation. It begins with a period called “Inquiry” which is a time to look at the main teachings of the Catholic Church, to get to know some of the people and to begin to experience the life and prayer of the local church which is the parish. It is also the time for you to look at your life to see if this is the time for you to move further along the path of committing your life to Jesus in faith and living that faith as a member of the Catholic Church.
If you are interested in baptism as an adult, for an older child or if you are already baptized and wish to become Catholic contact the St. Joseph Church office. They will arrange for you to receive a follow-up call from the RCIA program leader.
If this is your desire, you will begin an extended period of time to deepen your understanding of salvation which is offered to us through Jesus. Participation in Sunday Mass is essential as well as weekly gatherings to help you grow in understanding about living as a committed follower of Jesus according to Catholic belief and practice.
Full membership in the Catholic Church takes place through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist which are channels of God's life and help coming to us. These sacraments are celebrated together each year at the Easter Vigil which begins after dark the night before Easter. They bring us fully into the life and mission of Jesus as lived by the Church.
Personal Experience of Being Baptized and Living the Catholic Way of Life
Lun grew up in a Buddhist environment and came to the United States as an adult. She gradually learned about Christianity from those around her. She was Baptized, Confirmed, and received her First Communion during the Easter Vigil in 2014.
“My husband is Catholic. Through his example, I wanted to learn more about Christianity and the Catholic Church. I then decided that I wanted to be baptized and be a Catholic. I came to meetings where I learned about eternal life in Heaven and the importance of serving others by giving time and treasure to the Church and the needy. I serve the parish by helping with the funeral lunches and other things as they come up. I am closer to God by being baptized, confirmed, and receiving Holy Communion. I now pray three times a day and my husband and I read the Bible together. I am very aware and thankful for all God has given us.”
Path For Those Validly Baptized in Another Christian Denomination
This path varies from parish to parish. We have a group here that we call Pilgrim's Progress because we are all pilgrims on the journey of faith. This group consists of people who are baptized and are seeking to grow in their understanding of what it means to live as a baptized follower of Jesus.
Among the participants in the group are those from various Christian Churches who are exploring what it would mean for them to live their baptismal life according to Catholic belief and practice. The length of preparation time depends on the extent of their Christian background. When they are ready, they are received into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church at one of the weekend Masses by making a Profession of Faith, being Confirmed, and receiving Holy Communion.
Personal Experience of Coming into the Catholic Church
Mary was baptized in another Christian denomination and her husband Rob was baptized Catholic as a baby, but was not confirmed and was away from the active practice of his faith for awhile. Mary was received into Full Communion of the Catholic Church, Confirmed and received her First Communion at a Sunday Mass in 2014. Rob was Confirmed when Bishop Bradley came to the parish in May 2014 to celebrate Confirmation for those who were baptized Catholic.
“What started as an obligation to accompany Rob’s dad to Mass, after the death of Rob’s mom, blossomed into a desire to become part of the St. Joseph Church Family and to be active members of the Catholic Church. Because of our desire to be part of St. Joseph Church, our lives started revolving around Mass and coming to meetings for instruction. As we did this, we began to realize that our priorities in life were changing. We started thinking about how we could help others rather than planning that next big vacation. What had been a chore taking care of aging parents became a privilege. We no longer felt comfortable participating in off color jokes and gossip “around the water cooler”. We are continuing to learn and grow and are eagerly waiting for what God has in store for us.”