One becomes a Catholic by receiving the Sacraments. In our Catholic Faith, the Sacraments have a tremendous importance. We believe that Jesus Christ instituted the seven Sacraments as the means by which He would share His life with us.
There are three "Sacraments of Initiation" by which one becomes a fully initiated Catholic: Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist (Holy Communion).
As most people know, an infant becomes a Catholic by being baptized. Likewise, an adult also enters the Church by receiving the Sacraments.
- If an adult wishing to become Catholic has never been baptized, he or she receives the Sacrament of Baptism. But unlike an infant, the adult also receives the Sacrament of Confirmation and receives Holy Communion at the same time.
- If an adult has been validly baptized in another Christian denomination, that person is not re-baptized. Such a person would make a Profession of Faith (affirming acceptance of the fullness of the Catholic Faith) and then receive the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Communion.
One prepares to receive the Sacraments though a period of prayer, study, discussion, and fellowship.
We pray in order to discern God’s will – to become stronger in our faith in God, and to grow in confidence that He is calling us to be united to Him in the Catholic Church. We also pray in order to know what changes Jesus is calling us to make in our lives to serve the Him more faithfully, and to ask for the courage and strength we need to do that.
We study the teachings of the Catholic Faith in an atmosphere of discussion and prayer so that we will understand the Faith we profess. We should become a Catholic only when we can confidently say that we believe what the Catholic Church teaches about God, ourselves, and how Christ calls us to live as His disciples. One must know what the Church teaches and why. Each person will come with particular questions – and sometimes misunderstandings – that need to be addressed.
The whole process of entering the Catholic Church as an adult is called the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA for short). Please visit the RCIA and FAQ about Becoming Catholic pages for more information on the process of preparing to becoming Catholic. You may also want to check out some conversion stories from people who recently became Catholic at the Cathedral Parish!
Here at the Cathedral Parish, the person to contact if you are considering becoming Catholic is Deacon Chris Schmelzer, Director of the Rite of Christian Initiation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 257-5000.