Becoming a Catholic – An introduction.
SOME QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT ASK:
* WHO CAN BECOME A CATHOLIC?
The simple answer is ‘anyone’. The word Catholic means universal and the Roman Catholic Church welcomes people of all ages, races and backgrounds. Those seeking to become Catholic are either baptised or unbaptised. A baptised person preparing to become a Catholic is called a candidate while an unbaptised person is known as a catechumen.
* WHAT IS INVOLVED?
Catholicism is a way of life founded on the teachings of Jesus Christ. A Roman Catholic is expected to embrace those teachings and to make a sincere effort to live in accordance with Christ’s will.
* CAN YOU BE MORE SPECIFIC?
Yes! Christianity is identified by the three hallmark virtues of faith, hope and charity. The virtue of faith leads us to acknowledge what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. The virtue of hope leads us to express our trust in God through prayer (for Catholics this is lived in a particular way when we join together to unite ourselves to the prayer of Jesus in the Holy Mass). The christian virtue of charity can also be called self-sacrificing love. It is the greatest of all the virtues.
* HOW DO THESE RELATE TO BECOMING A CATHOLIC?
First of all it is important to know what we believe and so a candidate has to undergo a period of instruction in the faith of the Church. This is sometimes called catechesis. It can also be know by the acronym RCIA which stands for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.
Secondly, it is important to become involved in the liturgical life of the Parish by attending Holy Mass either during the week but particularly on Sundays. The Mass is the source and summit of our Christian life.
Finally a person seeking admission to the Catholic Church seeks also to live a life of charity. In Catholicism it is the Christian’s call to self-sacrificing love.
* I WAS BAPTISED INTO ANOTHER CHRISTIAN CHURCH. WILL I BE ASKED TO RENOUNCE MY FAMILY’S FAITH?
You certainly won’t be asked to make a public rejection of your previous faith community. In fact we will pray for them and thank God for them during the ceremony of reception-they have helped you to get this far! It is better to think of Catholicism as the fullest expression of the Christianity. Therefore you are entering more deeply into the mystery of the Church rather than rejecting anything.
* I AM NOT SURE I CAN ACCEPT ALL THE CHURCH TEACHES. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
The best thing would be to come to some lessons anyway and ask questions. Of course a public forum may not be the most appropriate place to deal with everything you want to ask but you can always make arrangements to see the priest privately for a full discussion of your concerns.
* I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW MORE, BUT I DON’T THINK I AM READY TO CONVERT.
That’s fine, you are most welcome to join us for talks anyway. You have nothing to lose, you will at least have a greater insight into the Christian faith in general and Catholicism in particular.
* DO I NEED TO TELL ANYONE?
NO! Every year there are people who receive instruction into the Church and don’t mention it to their family until the last minute. Although it is encouraging to be with others so we can generally arrange classes to suit you.
* IS THERE ANY PAPERWORK INVOLVED?
A little, if you were baptised we like to check the details of your baptismal certificate. We advise you how to get a copy. Permission also has to be sought from the Bishop – for this a form need filling in.
* WHEN WOULD I BE RECEIVED?
The usual time for receiving people into the Church is at Easter, during the solemn Easter Vigil. Candidates and Catechumens are warmly encouraged to join the Parish community for the three stages of the Triduum; the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday evening, the Celebration of the Passion on Good Friday and the Easter Vigil after sunset on Holy Saturday.
* OKAY ! HOW DO I FIND OUT MORE?
Well, the next step would be to speak with one of the Priests in person, by phone or email all details can be found on the website under Contact Us.