Q: What if I am not sure if I want to become Catholic; what if I want to learn more as I discern if the Catholic Church is right for me?
A: RCIA is the right place for you, then. We will provide you with information and answer your questions while you come to your own decision. When and if you are ready to join, we will more formally bring you into the RCIA program and, ultimately, into the Catholic Church.
Q: If I am already baptized, will I be re-baptized?
A: The baptisms that almost all denominations provide are considered valid baptisms by the Catholic Church.
In almost all cases, those already baptized will still receive the sacraments of confirmation and Eucharist.
In all cases, those joining the Catholic Faith will make a profession of faith.
Q. Do I need to provide any documentation to join the RCIA?
A: If you are already baptized, we need proof of your baptism. This typically takes one of the following forms:
- A baptismal certificate from the church that baptized you; a photocopy of this is all we really need.
- Or, if your baptismal certificate is not available, a signed letter from someone who witnessed your baptism will work; it should state the name of the church, the denomination, the city and state, the date, and that he or she witnessed your baptism.
Baptized or not, please also provide a photocopy of your birth certificate.
Q: Is RCIA for adults or for children?
A: Both. The RCIA process was initially designed with adults in mind but has been adapted to serve children seven years of age and older.
Q: What if my children are not old enough to decide on their own to join the Catholic Church?
A: We wait until the age of seven to bring children into RCIA because at that age we hope that they will be able to make a decision on their own. However, if you the parent do not believe that your child can make such a decision at his or her current level of maturity, then simply wait until he or she is ready. Asking to join the Church and expressing a desire to receive the Eucharist are examples of indications that your child most likely is ready.
Q: What if my child is not yet seven?
A: The Rite of Infant Baptism serves until age seven; RCIA takes over after reaching seven.
Q: How long does it take to become Catholic?
A: Becoming Catholic is a life-long comittment; the RCIA provides appropriate pause to prayerfully enter into this way of life. RCIA is a process of education, experience, formation, and discerment. While the time-frame in which this happens is guided by the Holy Spirit, one should assume that it will take approximately a year. While some will progress more quickly and others will take longer, the assumption of one year is a good rule of thumb. One year: 1) gives one time over which to become educated about God, the Church, and our faith, 2) allows for one to get to know and become integrated into the community, and 3) allows one to experience one full liturgical cycle.
Q: Will my marriage have any bearing on me receiving my sacraments?
A: If married, one who receives sacraments in the Catholic Church must have a marriage that is recognized by the Catholic Church. This typically takes place by having your marriage in a Catholic Church with a priest or a deacon as the presider. However, the Catholic Church may recoginze your wedding even though it occurred outside of the Catholic Church. When the wedding has already taken place in some other setting, the Church may need to convalidate or bless the marriage first. In either case, those who were previously married to another may need to seek an annulement before pursuing a new wedding or convalidation. Please contact Ray Hertel with questions: 409-762-9646 or firstname.lastname@example.org; if convalidation or annulement seems necessary, he may ask you to call the parish office to make an appointment with one of our priests.