Becoming a Catholic
As Catholics, we speak of a journey of faith. The idea of a journey reminds us of the people of Israel first called by God who journeyed from slavery in Egypt to the land promised to them by God. It is a story remembered in the first books of the Bible.
Those thinking of becoming Catholic are already on a journey of faith, which has brought them to hope in God’s Promise. It is a promise of belonging to God’s People, a promise of new life as members of Christ’s body – a new life transformed by God’s Spirit. As Catholic Christians we live each day with hope for the present and for the future and, as we say each Sunday at the celebration of Mass, we ‘look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come’. This means that we look beyond this life to a life with God which does not end.
All Catholics enter into this life of the Church through the Sacraments of Initiation. Many receive these sacraments when they are young as part of growing up in a Catholic family. But, equally, one can become a Catholic as an adult, having come to this faith either from another Christian tradition or from another faith or no particular faith. Everyone is unique and everyone has their own journey of faith.
‘Christian initiation is accomplished by three sacraments together: Baptism which is the beginning of new life; Confirmation which is its strengthening; and the Eucharist which nourishes the disciple with Christ’s Body and Blood for their transformation in Christ.’
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1275)
The decision to become a Catholic is extremely serious, and involves a personal commitment to the Catholic faith and to live out its implications in a loving relationship with God. Consequently, it is important that if you are seeking to enter the Church, you are fully informed about the good news which Christ has brought and given spiritual preparation for your life of faith ahead.
To help people become ready to join the Church, there is a process of preparation known as the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). In four stages, RCIA gradually introduces enquirers to the teaching of the Church and aims to deepen their relationship with God through prayer and through an introduction to the shared life of the Catholic community. After the third stage, those ready to become Catholic are able to receive the Sacraments of Initiation or to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church if they have come from another Christian tradition. This usually takes place at the Easter Vigil. Attending RCIA meetings does not commit you to joining the Catholic Church, but aims to offer an appropriate environment to discern God’s call.
If you would like to know more, please contact your local parish priest. If you are unsure whom to contact, or if your parish does not offer RCIA at present, please contact Gregory Stacey (Diocesan Co-ordinator for Catechesis, Adult Formation) who will offer advice and put you in touch with an appropriate RCIA group. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. 0113 261 8047
For information on children’s preparation for the Sacraments of Initiation, see our Sacramental Preparation pages.