The best place to start would be to find a Catholic church nearby where you live or work that offers an inquiry process for people like you. This process is called the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (or RCIA).
Have you already been attending a Catholic parish church alone, or with a friend? Have you been reading about the Catholic faith, exploring Catholic websites, attending young adult groups like Theology on Tap or The Point?
In the Roman Catholic Church, life is lived, faith is learned and celebrated, and growth happens within a community, called a parish. You see, God designed us for one another, not to "go it alone," and God models perfect loving community for us in the mystery of the Trinity. If you like that church community or parish you have been attending, talk to the parish priest about your interest in becoming Catholic. If you do not know where to find your nearest Catholic parish, you may call our office and we will help you. It is extremely important to find a community to plug into as you journey in your faith.
Contact: Julliette Moquin, 780-469-1010 ext. 2132
How long does the RCIA process take?
Becoming a member of the Catholic Church does not depend upon “book knowledge.” RCIA is a journey of formation. “Formation” is a term the Church uses to describe how people who search for God are profoundly changed by their search. You are looking for a relationship with Jesus Christ and, when you find that relationship, you will be completely changed by it. You will want to change your life and lifestyle, slowly but surely, to become more like Jesus. This journey takes a lifetime!
“Formation” means being shaped and transformed through your experience of the RCIA process. You will find yourself growing in many different dimensions of your life. These various dimensions include:
Understanding what the Church believes and coming to share that belief
Experiencing, understanding, and participating in the Mass and other liturgical/worship services
Learning how to become more like Jesus through living the commandments (Exodus 20) and the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12; Luke 6:20-22)
Growing in ease and ability to pray and experiencing different forms of prayer
Living within a community and learning to deal with both “the muck and grace” of community life
Sharing your own experience with other people in your daily (“real”) life
The RCIA journey takes time. It's like falling in love, but you will be falling in love with a Real Person, Jesus Christ. You need to take time to discern whether you want to spend a lifetime with Jesus Christ, and be part of His Body, the Church. The way of Jesus is the way of the Cross. The way of Jesus is not for sissies or cowards; the way of Jesus takes an informed conscience, courage, character, and compassion.
You need to consider your own life and lifestyle, and how becoming a Catholic might re-shape both. You will participate in Catholic life and community, in liturgical gatherings, and in charitable activity. The “teaching” is just a small part of the experience when you explore becoming fully Catholic. So reading a lot of books is not enough. You must live your way into the knowledge of the faith.
The bishops of the Church have recommended that RCIA take adequate time: a full year in the Catechumenate (the “apprenticeship” phase). They also recommend that all adults continue to learn throughout their lives… where all Catholic adults live the mysteries and are continuously formed by them.
When people begin the RCIA journey, very few can actually claim that they know what the phrase “experiencing the Risen Christ in the Catholic liturgy” means. Very few have ever had experience of Christian community the way the Catholic Church understands it. The RCIA process gives you these opportunities.
RCIA – ponder long and deeply
In our modern world, we want instant everything. We are impatient with slow response time on computers, people not returning our messages, slow drivers on roadways, and much else. Becoming a Catholic is very similar to falling in love and deciding if you want to marry that person. The rest of your life is a long time! When you discern whether the Catholic way of life is one you want to adopt, you need to ponder long and deeply.
And you need to pray. You need to learn how to hear God speaking to you: in Scripture, at Mass, in nature, and in your relationships with others. You need to learn how to listen through the noise of life, for that quiet voice of God speaking deep in your heart.
Baptized in another Christian tradition?
Occasionally, someone from another Christian tradition already knows our Lord Jesus—through baptism, liturgy, Scripture, and community—and wishes to make their home with the Catholic Christian community. That person might enter the Church sooner than a person who is not yet baptized.
However, Scripture itself uses the phrase “in the fullness of time” to express the need for patient discernment in all matters of living a life of faith.
Call your nearest Catholic parish today, and begin this awesome adventure!