How do I Become a Catholic?
God calls to everyone. The response to that call will have different expressions for different people because of our individual natures. There are a number of doors to seeking membership of the Catholic community. They might include:
- Religious: a search for the holy
- Christian: a desire to form a relationship with Jesus Christ
- Ecclesial: a yearn to be part of a particular community
- Moral: a turn towards a particular values base
- Intellectual: a thought process towards truth
Therefore, an individual may find themselves seeking to explore membership through one or more of these doors.
Becoming a Catholic, while a weighty decision, is easy in practice. Although it does take time, it’s easy to take your first step. The church is waiting to welcome you and help you along your journey. The first stage to becoming Catholic is getting to know a local community. You may have Catholic friends whom you join when they attend Mass and parish gatherings, or you might want to contact people locally. The Auckland Catholic Diocese website has a list of parishes and their contacts. When you are ready to move into discernment you will need to contact them and become part of the RCIA process.
What is RCIA?
RCIA stands for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. It is the process by which adults are welcomed into membership of the Roman Catholic Church.
- A journey of faith. There are a number of different phases, with no specific timeframes.
- A time of discovering about being a son or daughter of God who is loving and gracious.
- An opportunity to reflect on a personal relationship with God and how God calls everyone.
- A period if getting to know Jesus Christ (more) deeply.
After an initial six-week enquiry period, those who wish to continue enter a more formal time of discernment called the Catechumenate.
This runs from September through to Easter, when those entering the Church are baptised and confirmed at the Easter Vigil. (If a person has already been validly baptised – Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, and so on – they are not baptised again.) After this, there is a time of settling in to the Church, called the Mystagogia period.
To become a part of the Becoming Catholic programme, arrange an appointment with the parish priest. You can bring along a Catholic friend (sponsor) if you’d like. There is a considerable commitment involved – most of all, the commitment to take on the life and teachings of Christ and his Church. You also need to be able to attend most Sunday morning sessions which take place in the prayer room of the Church after 10.00am Mass beginning on Sunday 15 October 2023, and make Sunday Mass a part of your weekly routine. The sessions will continue each week until Christmas and then resume in Lent 2024. Participants can then choose to be received into the Church at the Easter Vigil Mass in 2024.
You are led in the process by a team of catechists, Catholic parishioners who lead you through the various aspects of the Faith we introduce you to: Church, Scripture, Sacraments, Church history, prayer, ministry, and so on. As well, you will have a sponsor to journey with you through this programme. This person needs to be a practising Catholic (i.e. goes to Mass every Sunday), and able and willing to attend most Sunday mornings with you, as well as meet with you on other occasions to informally discuss your “progress” in the journey to faith. If you don’t know of such a person, we can team you up with a suitable parishioner. While there is a considerable commitment involved, you are able to withdraw from the programme at any time. Becoming Catholic is an exciting, challenging journey. May God bless you.
Contact the Parish office for more information: Ph 09 278 5058