How Do You or I Become Catholic? Faith of the Catholic Church, Core Sacraments and Topics

A Beautiful Journey

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How Does A Person Become Catholic?

There are 2 ways to become Catholic: you are either born into the faith, or you convert from another religion (or no religion) and receive the Sacraments of Initiation.

For those who are not born into the faith, there is a program called The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. The abbreviated form of this program is R.C.I.A.

The Sacraments of Initiation

When someone is interested in becoming a Catholic, the first thing that they should do is attend a few of the Catholic Masses. Catholic mass is held every day and most Catholics designate Sunday as their regular church day. Visiting a church on a Sunday would be a great opportunity for the inquiring person to see what the mass is like, what it's all about, and get a general idea of the parishioners that attend that church. Each church has its own personality.

After visiting the church the next step would be to introduce yourself to the priest and express your interest in learning more about becoming a Catholic. Most likely the priest will invite you to attend mass each week and when the time is appropriate. You will become a candidate and will go through a series of classes to learn about the Catholic faith. This program is called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, or R.C.I.A.

This program will teach the candidate about the beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church. Emphasis on baptism, forgiveness of sins, and receiving the Holy Communion are at the core of the program. In fact, the program is designed so that upon completion you will be ready to receive the sacraments of initiation.

The Sacrament of Baptism is the first Sacrament of Initiation. Becoming baptized is a symbol of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because of His selfless act, we are able to have our sins forgiven. We become a new person through baptism; our old selves have gone to death and we become reborn as children of the Lord.

The Sacrament of Penance is after becoming Baptized and before making your First Communion. This is where you confess your sins in private to a priest and he offers prayers and blessings and asks God to forgive your sins so that you can be prepared to take part in the following Sacraments.

The Sacrament of Confirmation is connected with baptism. During the ceremony, the elect are sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit as the priest applies holy oil to their forehead and gives a blessing. This oil is called The Oil of Holy Chrism.

The Sacrament of the Eucharist is the last Sacrament of Initiation that will be made. Being able to celebrate the Eucharist is considered to be fully participating in the Mass. Catholics believe that, through divine intervention and conversion, this is the true body and blood of Jesus Christ.

These 4 sacraments often take place during the Easter Vigil Mass. Please follow the link to learn more on this subject through an article I wrote about the conversion of my wife and children this past Easter.


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Other Catholic Sacraments

There are a total of seven sacraments in the Catholic Church. We have already discussed the first four, the sacraments of initiation. Now we will explore four other sacraments. Please note that not all Catholics make all seven sacraments.

The Sacrament of Holy Orders is reserved for those who have a vocation, or calling, to serve Christ as a Priest, Deacon, Monk, or Nun. Deacons, Monks, and Nuns serve under the Priest and have limited authority in the church. While Priests run the church, so to speak, Deacons, Monks, and Nuns are important ministers of the faith. They perform charitable works and help the poor as well as a wide array of other duties.

The Sacrament of Matrimony is the celebration of Marriage. The church recognizes a faithful marriage through this sacrament. Candidates for marriage must have never been married in the church before, as the church recognizes marriage as a lifetime covenant between God and the unity of the spouses. The only exception to this is when an Annulment is granted, which is when the previous marriage can be proved to have been invalid for certain reasons. Annulments are rarely granted by the Catholic Church.

The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is the final sacrament. When death due to illness is eminent, a priest may visit them and pray with them. Holy Oil is administered to them and Holy Communion is distributed, when practical.

These are the Holy Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. This article is very brief and touches on the basic principles of the sacraments. If you have more questions related to sacraments or if you have interest in becoming Catholic, I suggest you seek a priest at a church near you.

This article is the second in a series on Catholicism. Please follow this link to view the first installment: What Do Catholics Believe?

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Comments 35 comments

BentleyMom 5 years ago

Great Hub!


David Warren profile image

David Warren 5 years ago from Nevada

Great Hub! Interesting and well written. Voted up and useful!


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

I appreciate that, David Warren! Thanks for stopping by, voting, and commenting!

JSMatthew~


Apostle Jack profile image

Apostle Jack 5 years ago from Atlanta Ga

LOOK before you leap,for everything that glitters is not gold.


Ancillotti profile image

Ancillotti 5 years ago from Brasil, Vitoria - ES

Hello, friend! Hub very well written, objective and straightforward! I really enjoyed it.

I was born Catholic and I think I will be up to the rest of my life. You could write in a succinct and very well made about the Catholic sacraments.

I think that could be added (or made a Hub on) the particular characteristic of Catholic devotion to Mary as a mediator.

Anyway, Hub useful!


Granny's House profile image

Granny's House 5 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

I was a catholic. Not by choice. I went to catholic school and church I think they are a bunch of hypocrites. The stories I could tell.

Example. If you were late or behind on your tuition my homeroom nun would call you to stand and proceed to tell you and everyone in the room your tuition was not paid. And sometimes if it was real behind she would even say if it was not paid you could not come to school. It was very embarrassing.The kids would laugh at you. It was not a nice experience. My dad left my mom when we were young. She was trying to put 5 of us through school on her own. It was very expensive.

One time in religion class, I asked the nun, If God made Adam and Eve and they had two boys and Cain killed Able, then where did everyone else come from. She walked over to me. I was chewing gum, she told me to spit it in her hand, then she stuck it on my nose and told me to leave it there till the end of class. They did things to humiliate you. Is that christian? They would tell us that if we did not go to church there would be a black mark on our soul and when we died we would not get in to heaven. They just want you there to get the money. They would give us a box of envelopes. You had to mark a box, $5 -$10 or $15. My mom was poor we could not afford that!

I did not Baptized my children catholic. We read the bible, went to different churches and Sunday school. I told then it was their choice.

There are more I could tell but just like politics religion is not a good subject.


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Ancillotti, thank you! I am glad that you found this article straight forward. My intentions in writing this were not to persuade anyone to become Catholic. I am merely posting informative articles to provide people with information on Catholicism. I appreciate your suggestion about Mary. I will give it some thought and see what I can come up with. Thanks again!

JSMatthew~


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Granny's House, I also appreciate your comment. I have to tell you that I have experienced similar treatment when I was in grade school. I went to a Catholic school and the nuns were mean and they were allowed to hit us!

I remember having my hand smacked with a ruler for having poor penmanship. I also had to wear a "Dunce Cap" and sit in the corner in the front of the room because I was caught picking my nose. I was in first grade.

Although all of these bad things had happened, I think that the recent sexual abuse scandal that tore through the church has forced the Catholic System to be more transparent and accountable.

I think every religion has its skeletons in the closet. There are a lot of bad things that have happened throughout history. I think the church now is heading in a better direction. I had left the church for many years but recently went back with my family.

We like the priest and enjoy the rituals and sense of community that going to Mass brings us. I have enjoyed many other services as well, throughout other Christian denominations.

With that said, I think that ANYONE who does things to hurt or embarrass children is not Christian, no matter what their title is. I appreciate you sharing your feelings on the church. I know that you are not alone in your stance! Thank you for sharing your experience.

JSMatthew~


jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

Again, this is really informative. There are info here that I don't know...and I'm supposed to be Catholic. How embarrassing! At least I'm learning.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 5 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

I was born and grew up a Catholic and I have seen the church change a lot since Vatican 2 in the 1960s. Back then, I recall fewer people than now who went to Communion at Mass. Today, it seems like 100 % of the parishioners participate. Is it because all of them have gone to Confession regularly?


Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

Great information very well written. I am Catholic and have still learned a lot from your recent hubs. Thanks,

Sharyn


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@ jpcmc: There were things that I didn't know or just forgot! Being a Catholic doesn't mean we know everything! Don't be embarrassed! I am glad to do the research for these Hubs because I have learned a lot in the process. Thanks for the comment!

JSMatthew~


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@ Paul Kuehn: I am not sure why there has been a significant increase in people receiving communion since the 2nd Vatican. Maybe it is because the church has become a little more relaxed regarding confession. Great question!

JSMatthew~


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@ Sharyn's Slant: I am glad that you have enjoyed these articles! I never realized that there were so many Catholics using HubPages! Thanks for the comment!

JSMatthew~


PK2010 profile image

PK2010 5 years ago from United Kingdom

I was born a catholic, I attended a catholic secondary school, I married a catholic, my children are catholic and attend catholic schools. Suffice to say, its the only form of Christian religion I have ever known. I love being a catholic and will not trade it for any other religion. I don't understand everything, but love for catholicism has never waivered. I'm glad you pointed out that not all catholics make the seven sacraments, that is very important additional informaion which could easily have been overlooked.

Great hub, and thanks for bringing these to light. There are a lot of basic things about being a catholic that we don't know and the sacraments are one of them. Thanks.


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

PK2010, thanks again for the wonderful comment! I have had a similar life as I was born and raised Catholic and attended mostly Catholic schools. I am hoping to send my children to Catholic High Schools.

Growing up a Catholic has it's downside; we tend to take things for granted, and until we read up on them, there are things that we forget. This has been such a great experience for me writing this series! I am looking forward to writing more this weekend!

Thanks for stopping by!

JSMatthew~


PK2010 profile image

PK2010 5 years ago from United Kingdom

I agree about the catholics taking things for granted. I think this observation swings both ways i.e. for the laity and the church leaders. I think that's a reason why people tend to leave the church because spiritually they do not feel fulfilled. There are questions, but no answers. There is a lack of sufficient information and involvement from both sides. Anyway that's just me and what I think. Once again, great hub!


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

PK2010: Excellent point! I think a lot of the problem is that all of the official publications from the church are in Latin and very hard to understand. Often when people try to explain it, they talk to us like we are children. Nice observation! Thanks for re-commenting!

JSMatthew~


cheerfulnuts profile image

cheerfulnuts 5 years ago from Manila, Philippines

This is a nice hub. I'm a Catholic, too. But I had studied in a Protestant school so I didn't know any of these things. I have read a comment written by Granny's House regarding her bad experiences in her Catholic school. I felt bad for her, and I 100% agree to your reply - "I think that ANYONE who does things to hurt or embarrass children is not Christian, no matter what their title is." Very well said. I don't go to church. My family had met a lot of hypocrites who would "force" you to share your problems and secrets because as they say, they "care" about you. You would later on learn that your "secrets" had been shared to other church-goers as well. But in my opinion, this doesn't indicate that Catholicism itself is "bad." People just don't know how to act like Christians. People are sinners. I think we should just open our eyes wide and use our best judgment in choosing a church. I think you're blessed to have found a good church. As for me, I care more about my relationship with God than religion.

-cheerfulnuts


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

cheerfulnuts, thanks for stopping by! I think the bottom line is that it is the people who make up the church. Each church has its own personality. You leave an insightful comment and I appreciate that! Thank you!

JSMatthew~


anemometers profile image

anemometers 5 years ago from Anemometer Installation Areas

I prefer catholics to fundamentalist preachers. I am not catholic but I have never felt uncomfortable with most catholics except for a few extreme ones but there are not too many of them.


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment anemometers! I appreciate you taking the time to read my article and sharing your opinion.

JSMatthew~


biblicaliving profile image

biblicaliving 5 years ago from U.S.A.

Wow! I finally discovered a resource on Catholicism that doesn't take a week to comb through. Great topic, and Great hub.


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thanks so much for the awesome comment biblicaliving! I am glad that you found it short yet precise.

JSMatthew~


myriadmom profile image

myriadmom 5 years ago from Hilo, Hawai'i Island

Loved this Hub! My education is in Philosophy and Religion and I learned a great deal here. Thank you!


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thanks for the comment myriadmom! I appreciate you stopping by.

JSMatthew~


seanorjohn profile image

seanorjohn 5 years ago

Once a Catholic...Enjoyed reading your hubs.Always vote up. I think this is first time I've commented. I never got past the little red book catechism question "Why did God make you",when I was at school. I was in awe of pupils that knew the answers to it all.


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you seanorjohn! I went to Catholic schools for most of my education, including High School. There is definitely the right way...and no other way to answer questions that the church uses to teach the religion. I don't always agree with every single detail, but I am proud to be a Catholic! I appreciate you coming by and voting Up!

JSMatthew~


brotheryochanan profile image

brotheryochanan 5 years ago from BC, canada

A person may be considered to be born catholic, but whether a person is born into any religion is not important to God. It's the heart that interests God and through relationship, God determines who get into the kingdom, certainly not because a person was born into this denomination or that one.


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

You are so right brotheryochanan! God doesn't care what "label" you use for yourself. He wants us to serve Him and our brothers and sisters. Thanks for adding to this Hub!

JSMatthew~


brotheryochanan profile image

brotheryochanan 5 years ago from BC, canada

Thanks! LOL i thought i was gonna get a strip torn off me.

=)


springfox profile image

springfox 5 years ago

I am a convert and I am loving it. Thanks for a great article.


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

I am glad that you enjoyed this article springfox! Happy to meet a fellow Catholic! Thanks for stopping by.

JSMatthew~


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 5 years ago from New York

You do justice to the precepts of Catholicism. That said, it is a very nice article and you outline the sacraments very well. I am Catholic as you may have seen from my hubs. Voted up and interesting.


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thanks again for commenting tillsontitan! I appreciate it very much!

JSMatthew~

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