Becoming Catholic

How to Become Catholic

Welcome! Becoming Catholic is one of Life's most profound and joyous experiences. While a big decision, the process is easy, although it does take time. It's your first step into joining the oldest Christian institution in the world. St. Mary of Redford is waiting for you, our Pastor, Fr. Tyrone Robinson, and the Religious Education staff. We will help you along your journey.

An individual is brought into the Catholic Church through the three sacraments of Christian initiation-baptism, confirmation, and holy Eucharist.

For adults, entrance into the Church is governed by the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), sometimes called the Order of Christian Initiation for Adults (OCIA).

Self-Exploration and Evaluation

Becoming a Catholic will no doubt change the rest of your life. This will become a part of you and it's not something you want to do with great thought.

If you've been baptized, but your initiation process stops there, you may not need to take RCIA classes. It all depends on your education and desires. Most baptized people will go through a much shorter period of inquiry and reflection and can join the church on any Sunday.

Joining St. Mary of Redford and becoming Catholic

Visit St. Mary of Redford Church, and come to our mass on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. Going to church is not a privilege reserved for those who are Catholic. Anyone is welcome and no questions will be asked if you do choose to go. Go with a Catholic friend who can explain when to do things and what they mean. While you won't participate in Communion, you will participate in everything else.

Contact the Parish Office of St. Mary of Redford. Inform them of your desire to convert and you're on your way! There are group classes, called RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults), for all people wishing to convert within a period, giving you a social framework for assimilating the experience. But before you start, you'll have to go through the "pre-catechumenate" process, which basically means talking to a priest, reflection and attending Mass regularly.

Talk to our Pastor, Fr. Tyrone Robinson. He will ask you why you wish to become Catholic and in general, talk to you to be sure you are sincere in your desire and are aware of the conditions of being Catholic. If you both are ready to move forward, you will begin in the RCIA.

During a Mass, you (and everyone else in your RCIA group) will publicly announce your intentions through the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens and the Rite of Welcoming. This does not involve public speaking. You are no longer in the pre-catechumenate process and have stepped forward to being a catechumen!

Start your Catholic education classes (RCIA). You will learn the history of the Church, the beliefs and values of the Catholic Church, and the proper order of celebration of Mass. During this stage, many classes have you attending Mass for only part of the time, leaving before communion, as you may not receive Eucharist until you have entered the Church.

However, you'll be involved in many other ways! You will receive anointments, participate in prayers, and become involved with the community at large.

Complete the season with a sponsor. Most RCIA classes take place over the course of one liturgical cycle. That way, you get to experience all the feasts, fasting, and holidays. In this time, you'll receive a sponsor, or, if you have one in mind, you can choose one to work with. They're just there to help, answering all the questions you may have.

During this time, you may be asked to clarify your marriage status. If you are divorced but have not received an annulment, you will need to obtain one before becoming Catholic. If you are married but not by the eyes of the Catholic Church, you may be asked to get "remarried", which can be done by appointment.

Begin the period of purification and enlightenment. Once the end of the liturgical cycle nears, you will be deemed an "elect". This is the part where you'll prepare for three public celebrations: the Rite of Election, the Call to Continuing Conversion, and the Easter Vigil.

The first two listed are at the beginning of Lent. When the 40 days are up, at the Easter Vigil you will be baptized, confirmed, and receive Eucharist.

Become a full-fledged Catholic

After the Easter Vigil (a truly memorable and beautiful experience), you are now a member of the Catholic Church, Welcome! You will be guided throughout the entire service.

Thoughtful reflection

*Until you are a member of the Catholic Church, you are not allowed to receive the Eucharist. The Church asks you to respect its traditions. Catholics believe that the Eucharist is the actual body and blood of Christ, no longer bread and wine.

**Instead of receiving the Eucharist, those who have not received their First Communion may go in the line where people are receiving the Eucharist but when they reach the altar cross their arms in front of their chest with their palms against their shoulders. This indicates to the priest that you wish to receive a blessing instead.

We hope that this has been helpful. Blessings on your journey!