How to Convert to Catholicism

Converting to be a Catholic is one of the most amazing and exhilarating experiences of your life. You can choose to convert to be a Catholic at any point of time in your life. For an adult or a child above the age of seven (the age of reason), entrance to the church is governed by the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) also popularly known as Order of Christian Initiation for Adults (OCIA). A person is fully converted to be a Catholic when he receives the three sacraments of Christian initiation, that is, baptism, confirmation and the Holy Eucharist. In this article we will learn how one can convert to this wonderful faith.

Instructions for the Anabaptized (or for followers of other religions):

The first formal step begins with the rite of reception into the order of catechumens, the ceremony in which an anabaptized person expresses his/her desire to become Christian. The process ends when the person feels he is ready to convert to Christianity. This period typically lasts less than a year. The purpose of this event is to provide the person with a thorough background of Christian teachings. This time period also allows a person to reflect upon his decision to become a Catholic and to show that they are ready to be serious.

The second formal step is the rite of election, in which the persons name is written in a book of those who will receive the sacraments of initiation. At this ceremony the person expresses his desire to be Christian and the church decides if the person is ready to be one. Normally this ceremony takes place on the first Sunday of Lent, the forty day period of preparation for Easter. During this period the person now known as the elect participates with full enthusiasm in further rituals. The elect is now formally presented with the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer which they are supposed to recite on the night they are initiated.

The initiation itself takes place on the Easter Vigil, the evening before Easter Day. On this evening a special mass is celebrated at which the elect are baptized and given confirmation and receive the holy Eucharist. This is the point at which the elect is becomes a complete Catholic and are received in to full communion with the Church. Ideally this ceremony is performed by a Bishop, but is usually performed by the local parish priest.

Instructions for Christians (or Protestants or followers of other forms of Christianity):

Because they have already been baptized, they are already Christians; they are, therefore, not catechumens. Because of their status as Christians, as far as the Church is concerned they not to be confused with those who are in the process of becoming Christians. For those who have been baptized at birth but have not been following the teachings or have not lived as ideal Christians or who have not been instructed in the Christian faith, the process is pretty much the same as a new elect (see above).

The Christians who have lived a life as a true Christian and who have been well instructed in the faith the situation changes. These followers will not have to undergo the whole process of being a new elect. They will also be received into the faith of the Catholic Church on any ordinary Sunday Eucharist of the parish community instead of Easter Vigil. Christians converting to the Catholic church should also discuss with the pastor or bishop the amount of instruction and time they will need to be received into the community.

Related Content:

  1. How to Convert to Judaism
  2. How to Convert to Islam
  3. How to Convert to Buddhism
  4. How to Plan a Christening
  5. How to be a Better Christian

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