How does a person become a Catholic?
Most members of the Roman Catholic Church are baptised as infants. They grow up in Catholic homes, receive formal religious education and gradually come to share in the full sacramental life of the Church.
Others - some of whom who were previously baptised in other Christian traditions, and others who may not have any previous attachment to any Church - become Catholics after making a solemn profession of faith, receiving Confirmation and sharing Eucharist with the Catholic community. The process by which adults become members of the catholic Church is called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).
The Catholic Church warmly welcomes new members and tries to provide an appropriate spiritual formation according to each person’s need. The RCIA process encourages an ongoing conversion to Jesus Christ and the reign of God he proclaimed. RCIA provides a structure for the proclamation of the Gospel, catechesis (passing on the teachings of the Church), public and private prayer, spiritual direction, the observance of the feasts, fasts, Sundays and seasons of the Church calendar and direct contact with members of the parish community.
How Long Does It Take?
The Rite of Christian Initiation is not a programme. It is the church’s way of ministering sensitively to those who seek membership. For that reason some people will need more time than others to prepare for the lifetime commitment that comes with membership in the Catholic Church. In most cases candidates will spend close on 6 months (from our ‘Enquiry Evening’ in September to full reception into the Church at Easter). Some may choose to take longer, perhaps postponing membership into the Church until the following year.
However long the period of preparation takes, the normal time for the Sacraments of Initiation or the Rite of Reception into full Communion is the Easter Vigil. Lent prepares catechumens, candidates and the whole community for Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist The celebration of the Easter Vigil dramatically points to the wellspring of the Church’s life: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ The waters of Baptism put to death the old person of sin and give birth to the new person in Christ Anointing with Sacred Chrism seals the newly baptised with the gift of the Holy Spirit. Participation at the table of the Lord with the disciples represents full membership in the Church.
The period of 50 days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost completes initiation. This festive season of post-baptismal catechesis helps new members and the whole church penetrate the deeper meaning of the Easter sacraments. It is a time for the newly baptised persons to find their home in the community and consider how they will share in the mission of the Church through Christian service. This period in the initiation process is a reminder to everyone that the process of spiritual growth is not completed with the celebration of the sacraments of initiation. It is a lifelong task.
The RCIA PROGRAMME runs from September to Pentecost each year. We hold an informal information evening in early September for those who might be interested in finding out more about the Catholic Faith. The date of the next "Information Night" will be given here during August.
Anyone who is seriously thinking about becoming a Catholic Christian or would simply like more information can contact the nearest Catholic parish.