How Do I Become Catholic?
To enter into full communion with the Catholic Church as an adult, you must receive the Sacraments of Initiation. The first of these is the Sacrament of Baptism, which unites all Christians. Baptism joins you to Jesus’ death, which ensures the forgiveness of your sins and incorporates you to into His Body (i.e. the Church). After you have received Baptism, or if you were previously baptised in another denomination, you will also receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. Through Confirmation, the Holy Spirit seals and perfects the spiritual transformation and unity with Christ given in Baptism. When you have received Baptism and Confirmation as an adult, you can receive Jesus physically in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
“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 his transformation in Christ.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1275)
The decision to enter the Church is extremely serious, and involves a commitment to fully affirm 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.
“[RCIA] is to be ‘a formation in the whole Christian life…during which the disciples will be joined to Christ their teacher.’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1248)
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 in increasing detail, and aims to deepen their relationship with God through Christ. 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 Church if they have already received the Sacraments. This usually takes place at the Easter Vigil. Attending RCIA meetings does not commit you to joining the Church, but aims to offer an appropriate environment to discern God’s call.
To begin the RCIA process, please contact your local parish priest. If you are unsure who 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 contact with an appropriate RCIA group.
0113 261 8047
For information on children’s preparation for the Sacraments of Initiation, see our Sacraments Pages