Catholic Weddings

Converts?

I posted once on this board before, and I lurk around here sometimes :-)

I am just wondering if any of you ladies converted to Catholicism, especially from another branch of Christianity, and if you would be willing to tell me a little bit about why and how that happened. What first pushed you in that direction, what issues did you struggle with and how did you resolve them, stuff like that.

I don't think my fiance and I are ready to move in this direction yet, but I could definitely see it happening, and I would love to know about your experiences. There is a lot that appeals to me but is terrifying at the same time. I think that a lot of this comes down to that, as people raised in an individualistic Western culture and in Protestant churches (which are individualistic by nature), we have a hard time being comfortable with a high ecclesiology that requires us to trust and agree with the Church on everything. But you all seem like thoughtful and sincere people, and I thought you might have some insight and experience with this.Thanks! 
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Re: Converts?

  • ootmother2ootmother2
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 25 Love Its First Answer
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    edited March 2012
    hi Laura and welcome!

    We do have several converts on the board,  damn!  I think they may be outnumbering us right now.    We love them ahyhow ';)

    Saturday night is generally slow  and probably even more so because of the great weather on the east coast.

    I just came over to send a personal message to Riss.

    Have a great night!
  • Hello!

    I am a recent convert, actually.  This Easter will mark my first year in the church.

    I was raised in the Church of Christ denomination, but my father had been Catholic and left the church when he and my mother married.  My parents always raised my sister and I in such a way that I always felt, "It doesn't really matter what you are -- as long as you are a good person."  My husband and I (boyfriend, at the time) were open to both faiths and actually split our Sundays often -- in the mornings we would go to my church, and in the evenings we'd go to his.  He is really one of my major reasons for converting.  His mother was a bit pushy, but he was always so gentle and so understanding.  Anytime I had questions, he could answer them.  The more I attended mass, the more I wanted to know about Catholicism.  I started listening to Catholic Answers Live on the radio, and I decided to enroll in RCIA just to learn more.  I really didn't expect to join the church, but by the end, I was "hooked," so to speak.  I knew that this was the true church and the place for me.

    It was certainly not easy.  My grandfather actually called me up to tell me that he and my grandmother did not support my decision and that I was condemning myself (and apparently they still give my mother hell for doing a "bad job" on me), but I know that I am in the right place.

    I think that if you are curious about the church, RCIA is the right place to start.  At least for me, there was never any pressure to join the church.  Just great, laid back, informative sessions with other really curious people.
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  • Hi! This Easter will be my one year mark too! I had a rocky but dynamic conversion. I was raised in the LDS faith, and was very faithful to it and it's teachings for most of my life, along with my entire immediate and extended family (and many neighbors and friends, for that matter). When I first started dating my FI, I told him we probably couldn't have a relationship because I wanted to marry in the LDS temple, raise LDS babies, etc. and he was catholic. Well, he said he'd hear it out, and after about 6 months of intense study and classes, he said he couldn't convert because it just didn't hold water. During that time we had a lot of hard conversations and hard questions that really tested our relationship, and our faith. The were a lot of problems and questions I couldn't give a good answer for, but I wasn't willing to turn my back on what I had known as the truth for 25 years, so we broke up. I tried to find reasons and explanations (I won't go into theological details here--it would be a novel) within my religion, but nothing satisfied me, so very Very slowly, I started to look elsewhere. I fought it, I think, because it was so hard to admit I had basically been, well, hoodwinked. I read Peter kreeft's Catholic Christianity, which was very eye-opening, and listened to a lot of catholic answers. Everything started to fall into place and began to click for me. After a few months, I joined rcia, and was hooked as well. Not coming from a Protestant background, I didn't have the problem of trusting and obeying an earthly authority, as I did that already. My biggest problem was coming out of the closet to my family. To them, I've given up my salvation, and they went through a grieving process for it that was very sad and frustrating. But even though it might have been easier socially to continue with my old life, I felt like I'd been born anew, and I couldn't deny the truths I had learned. Our relationships have healed now, and I couldn't be happier. Good luck with your spiritual journey! Everyone's is different, but I find there are some common threads and it's nice to hear others' stories.
  • Hi Laura,

    I'm also a convert.  Fi and I were confirmed Catholic Easter 2009.  Before that, we were both non-denominational christians, which really meant we were pretty much christian fundamentalists.  We believed in the authority of the bible alone, we disliked "religion," and believed that church was about expressing your individual relationship with God, not joining in an established liturgy.

    FI was somewhat indifferent, but I actually was very anti-Catholic.  I had a lot of misconceptions, and I lacked a deep, scholarly understanding of the bible or christian history.  But I was passionate.

    I ended up going to a Catholic university for my undergraduate degree, and I was forced to take theology and philosophy classes.  These classes and meeting some Catholics (I'd never known devout Catholics before) really got me interested in Catholicism.

    At first, I took what I learned with a grain of salt.  But eventually some things started making sense to me.  Ironically, one of those things was the Church's position against contraception.  It made so much sense, and it got me to wondering what else the Church could be right about. 

    It was a very long process of reading and debating.  At first I was extremely resistant to believing that the Church could be right.  I found my first theology classes offensive to my beliefs.  But the more I discussed and researched, the more it made sense.  I was a history major, and the history of the early Church astounded me.  I'd never realized before how Catholic the early Church was, and how little sense the reformation made.  Eventually I double majored in theology and found myself increasingly unable to disprove or counter Catholic arguments.

    Eventually it got to the point where I had to stop thinking about it academically, and start praying on it.  I went to my first mass freshman year (with a friend), and then for my second time in my junior year, that time because I was genuinely interested.  I began praying the rosary (at that point I had accepted the Church's position on Mary), and praying for Mary to guide me.

    In theory, I accepted most of the Church's teachings (morality, the eucharist, Mary).  But I was still struggling with papal infallibility and the idea that the Catholic Church was the ONE true Church.  I kept reading, and it made sense logically, but I still wasn't sure if I was ready to join the Catholic Church--to actually convert and commit my life to it.

    I went to mass for the third time in my life on All Saints (Nov 1) of my junior year of college.  It was in the cathedral of denver, CO, a lovely little church.  The previous two masses I had been to had been in our university's gymnasium.  Going to mass in this dimly lit, beautiful, traditional church was the final tipping point in my conversion.  I was blown away by the beauty of the liturgy, and the priest gave this wonderful homily on what it meant to be saint.  I finally felt at home, and I left the church in tears.

    For me, converting to another religion is not about emotional experiences.  Being spiritual doesn't necessarily have anything to do with emotion.  But in that instance, I felt that God has used emotion to get me to finally see that I needed to take that final step into converting.

    I didn't catch RCIA until almost a year later, during my senior year.  Then that Easter I was confirmed.

    My FI is not real big into studying or debating religion, but after watching my conversion, he began to pray about it and discuss it with me.  After a lot of discussion, and after he did a little reading of his own (and lots of praying), he decided to join me in RCIA. 

    At the very beginning, I was really turned off by the hierarchy of the Church, especially the Pope.  But it didn't take that long for me to realize that God becoming man (in the form of Jesus) meant that God sanctified man and wanted to use man.  The hierarchy of the Church is just that... God's hands and feet in the world.  The Pope is only infallible because Christ is infallible, and the Church has a visibile structure so that we can be a united Church.  It's funny to me how easily I disregarded Matthew 16:18 before I became Catholic.

    Sorry this is so long.  Conversion is never quick or easy!

    Whichever path you choose, make sure your eyes are always on the truth.  Even as a Catholic, I feel that conversion is never truly over.  We are constantly needing  to convert ourselves to God's truth.  As long as you keep doing that, I'm sure you're on the right path!

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  • I will be a one year Cahholic this Easter as well!
    Well Fiance and I had been dating for 4 years and I was going to be moving to college the next fall quarter. I knew that we would get married and my fiance has such a stong faith so I thought about our future and about how it would be much easier if I was just Catholic. SO when I got up for school I enrolled in the RCIA just to check it out, after a few classes I realized there was nothing I was against the the church taught so I decided I would just become Catholic just to make raising children easier ect...
    After Chrstmas break however i suddenly decided one night that if I was goin to become Catholic I wanted to do it right and reallt take it seriously. So I did... I immeresed myself even more in the community at the campus house, really started to pay attention to the classes and researched on my own. more and more I find myself loving the church, even after Easter had passed. I see the world so much differently, my relationship with my fiance has become stronger now that we have plcaed God into it, I have this sense of calmness that I can overcome anything and  have a reason to be so thankful for the things I have.
    Thats a basic summary of my conversion! haha and I started out with no faith at all other than believing that God existed.
    Good luck in your journey!
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  • I'm not a convert myself, but a bit of a "revert", although I never completely left the faith.

    I first attended a retreat in college that helped me meet Jesus. Before that, it didn't matter much to me. Then, I had lots of doubts and questions regarding church teaching. I  wasn't an activist against anything, just passively disagreed with some things. Then, I got involved as a youth minister in Lifeteen, and through that training I was completely humbled into understanding that 2000 years of teaching has never changed and cannot change because truth doesn't change. And all of the cardinals and bishops that have gone before us with prayer have been protected by the Holy Spirit from teaching error, led by the pope (Matthew 16). I was in the bible belt and had lots of teen's questions I had to answer, so I started studying apologetics. (The book "Catholicism and Fundamentalism" by Karl Keeting, and "Rome sweet home" by Scott Hahn really helped). Every time I questioned something or looked something up, I was convinced the church was right. That happens about a hundred times, well, you learn to trust that the church was going to be right... everythign was so logical.

    The problem today is that people's perception of what the hierarchy is is actually inverted. What people think: a regular hierarchy with the pope at the top, governing from above .

    What it really is:  If you think of an upside down triangle, the pope is at the bottom, IN SERVICE to the rest of the church. He has the weight of the world's souls on his shoulders, along with the cardinals, bishops above him. All the way up to lay people at the top, with women as the crown of creation. Priests have a special calling, to lower themselves in humility and service to the church. (This is why women can't be priests, because it would be a "lowering").  With such serious implications of the good of souls, our pope has the Holy SPirit promised to him to guard the church. If we think about it this way, its not all that hard to accept him as an authority.
  • Thank you all so much for your thoughtful responses. I really appreciate it.

    I can't figure out how to quote on this board, but Monkeysip: 

    "Ironically, one of those things was the Church's position against contraception.  It made so much sense, and it got me to wondering what else the Church could be right about.".... 

    Not ironic at all, that is exactly where I am right now. I think this is one thing that the Protestant church has horribly wrong. You also mentioned Mariology though, which is one thing I have a hard time with, and I realize that not picking and choosing which positions to agree with is sort of the underlying presupposition of Catholicism. Theoretically, I find the Church hierarchy very appealing, especially because it solves some logical inconsistencies in Sola Scriptura, but then there are specific issues like this that I struggle with. My fiance has degrees in Biblical languages and cultures, so I am very much not the Bible scholar of the two of us, but we do have a hard time with some verses that the Church seems to rely really heavily on that maybe didn't mean what we interpret them as today when they were read on their original language and context. Please forgive me if that is insulting or heretical, and again, I realize the irony of studying Church-defined canon and rejecting later Church interpretations and theological projections, that is just what we are struggling with right now, and I thought maybe some of you would be able to tell me if you have worked through something like this. 

    Louisa, your story is really compelling to me because, while our families don't have the intensity of the LDS families I know, there would definitely be a negative reaction if we were to convert. FI's family left the METHODIST church for being too centralized...

    The other thing we have been talking about that no one has brought up yet is why you are Catholic rather than Eastern Orthodox. What convinced you that the Catholic Church is on the right side of the first schism? It is hard to find balanced historical information, since church histories are always written from one perspective or the other.

    I have to run off to my little Presbyterian church now, but I will be back on later today. :-) Thanks again, everyone!
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  • About Mary...honestly, studying theology of the body made so much complete sense regarding things about her. There was Adam and Eve. And then there is a new adam, so there has to be a new eve.

    The thing to remember is that Mary is only who she is because of God. It is only by God's power that she could do anything. So, giving her more props is actually honoring God more, not less. It isn't an either/or thing, or a detraction, it is along with.
  • That's interesting, AgapeCarrie. I have never heard that before. I will have to do some reading on a Catholic theology of the body. Thanks!
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  • edited March 2012
    Re: Mary, I think that typology (New Eve, True Ark of the Covenant, etc.) makes it make the most sense.

    I'm probably the "old" covert on the board, as I was received into the Church on the feast of Christ the King (last Sunday before Advent) in 2005 (hard to believe that will be 7 years ago soon!). At that point, I had been in RCIA for about 10 months and had already been baptized in the United Church of Christ as an infant, so "only" received Confirmation and First Eucharist.

    We went to the church where I was baptized until I was in late elementary school when my family began attending a Presbyterian Church (for the personality of the pastor, not for any theological reasons -- I don't know that anyone in my family ever contemplated things in terms of theology. I think it was more of a "all the same God" kind of thing.), that never, ever felt like home. As we got older, our attendance became more sporadic, but because of a death in the family, I started seeking God with a vengence midway through high school. I prayed for direction, and decided that I needed to go to church regularly, because even if it wasn't the "right" church, it was better than no church.

    I was doing lots of contemplation and prayer, and there were lots of things I knew in my heart to be true that didn't make sense with most protestant denominations. Even so, Catholicism just scared me (because of what I would now describe as the question of authority). I considered intellectually about everything along the way (including, briefly, LDS and Judiasm), but nothing made as much sense to be as Catholicsm, especially when I began to realize that real Church teachings aligned very closely to what I already knew to be True in my heart.

    In college, I actually considered the question of Orthodoxy v. Catholicism, and while I no longer remember all of the details, I know that I decided Catholicism made more sense.

    VERY long story short, over time in college I made the intellectual conversion and the emotional conversion. I decided my senior year that I was going to make the leap the next year, started RCIA my first year of grad school, and was received into the Church the next fall. Since that time, I have just fallen more and mroe in love with the Church and have come to know and love her teachings more and more deeply.


    [Edited because I left a half-written thought/sentence in my original post and decided to add/clarify a few things while I fixed it. That's that I get for typing and making breakfast at the same time!]
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  • oh my goodness! What wonderful posts! Thank you all of you ladies for sharing-- your stories are so inspiring! (I think this must be the most beautiful thread that I have ever seen on TK! Cry << happy crying! )
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  • Just to briefly touch on the Catholicism vs. Orthodoxy issue, for me I felt that the Catholic Church's view of the Pope made more sense with the Scriptures and early church documents.

    The Orthodox view the Pope as equal among other Bishops, not prime or especially infallible.  I think this disregards Peter's important role in the Scriptures and the necessity of having a vicar of Christ that is one and visible.  

    Also, the Mary issue also came easily for me once I understood better how God can use special people and actually sanctify them.  As a protestant, I believed that we were not sanctified, but that Jesus' holiness saved us in heaven.  Catholicism actually extends Jesus' sanctity to us by allowing us to become a part of him, not just hide behind him from God's wrath.  

    The Eastern Catholics call it divinization, but the idea is that while we are fallible, sinful humans, God has the power to transform us and make us more like him, like God.  

    Mary is simply the first example of this because she was the first Christian and actually carried God in her womb.

    It was weird how as a protestant, I often said that Mary was just a vessel, nothing special.  Who would call their own mother "just a vessel"?  I had to start really thinking about all Mary did... carry him, raise him, support him in his ministry, watch him die, and then wait patiently for him to resurrect.  

    I think being the mother to God on earth calls for a little more respect than that.  Then I was able to start appreciating how as the first Christian, and in such a unique position as God's mother, he would do special things for her as a sign of what he was going to do for all of us.

    Instead of just sanctifying her after baptism, he did so before conception.  Instead of letting her resurrect later with everyone else, he assumed her body and soul into heaven immediately after she died.  He didn't do these things so we could worship her, but so that we could have a powerful vision of the future we hope for, one of sanctification and resurrection.

    Learning how to pray to Mary and the saints also helped me tremendously.  To realize that I had a family and circle of friends and protectors in heaven praying for me was so encouraging.  And it makes perfect sense--we pray for each other and support each other on earth--why would we stop doing so when we get to heaven?  The bonds of love and christian brotherhood cannot be broken even by death.

    Sorry... these are just more of my ponderings.  :)

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  • Oh yea, regarding vessel....

    A mother does not actually create anyone, she is the vessel through which a person comes here. Same as Mary for Jesus. Calling her mother of God does not mean that she is somewhow "above" or more powerful than God, its simply the vessel that He chose to come through to this earth.
  • In Response to Re: Converts?:
    Just to briefly touch on the Catholicism vs. Orthodoxy issue, for me I felt that the Catholic Church's view of the Pope made more sense with the Scriptures and early church documents. The Orthodox view the Pope as equal among other Bishops, not prime or especially infallible.  I think this disregards Peter's important role in the Scriptures and the necessity of having a vicar of Christ that is one and visible.
    Posted by monkeysip
    I am not a convert myself but a friend nearly became Orthodox in college and we hung around with his Orthodox friends for a time, so I have looked into the question a bit--why am I Catholic and not Orthodox?

    We can look at the four marks of the Church--one, holy, catholic (little c intentionally) and apostolic. I think monkeysip's point undermines the idea that the Orthodox Church is "one." Without the safeguard of a true visible head, that unity of belief is not maintained, through time and space. An example is actually contraception--the Orthodox Church (es) have changed their position on this to say that it is sometimes acceptable. Besides the fact that any outright change in doctrine is a problem when deciding which Church is the one founded by Christ, you'll see if you read theology of the body stuff as carrie suggested, that this actually strikes at the nature of the Trinity and how we understand God's relation to us.

    Another reason is that the Church must be little c catholic--that is, universal, in time and space. The Orthodox Church (es) do not tend to be that way. They are localized to a specific culture, in a sense--Russian, Greek, Armenian, Ethiopian, etc. I also saw, at least in my limited experience, that they don't seem to lose that sense of place and time--a Greek Orthodox church will *always* seem very Greek, in a sense, no matter where it is. The Catholic Church and its culture, on the other hand, has been assimilated into nearly every human culture. A church can be very Catholic and very French, or very Catholic and very African.  It is more truly universal. It is not particular to one place or one time or one group of people.

    Also, RE: Mary, this video is not too long and a good explanation of the typology that someone upthread mentioned (Mary = New Eve, Ark of the New Covenant.)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUdYeYy3NQA

    Good luck in your discernment, and thank you for being so nice and respectful with your questions. Smile

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  • Wow!  What awesome stories, ladies :)

     

  • Oh man I wish I had time to read all these stories right now!

    Like a few others, I am also a recent convert, this Easter will be my one year too.

    I was actually baptized and first communioned Catholic as well, but when we moved when I was in 5th grade, we went to a Lutheran church.  My church was great, but it never felt like "home".  When FI and I staretd dating (he's born and raised Catholic), I started going to church with him every weekend and that's when it just clicked for me.  It felt right, I felt like I was really in God's house, if that makes sense.  I looked into RCIA and I was so welcomed.  It was fantastic.  I love the order of mass.  It's been the same for centuries upon centuries.  And it hasn't been changed like other churches "changing with the time".  God knew even thousands of years ago what the world would be like today.  If He wanted things to change "with time" He would have specified so.  That's why i felt so good to go back to the church.  It was like I was being welcomed home.

    I will keep you and your FI in my prayers!  I wish you the best of luck in finding what you are looking for!
  • newlyseliskinewlyseliski
    1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Combo Breaker
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    edited March 2012
    As a cradle catholic, I can't really speak of accepting the authority from the perspective of a convert... but as a stubborn sinner perpetually in need of forgiveness, I think I can still offer something.

    As far as the "authority" issue, I haven't always struggled with it in a religious sense... but it seems to be a distinctly American challenge which you noted.  Individualism and aversion to authority is pretty much embedded in our culture and probably our genetic code, too, if that's possible :-)  I've battled the authority or ignored the advice of my parents more times than I can count, especially during the transition to self-sufficient adulthood as the oldest child in my family.  I'd always wanted to be defined by, differentiated by and admired for my achievements as an individual... also a very American thing.  Different=good... conformity=bad.

    As I've grown more aware of my own personal challenges to growing in holiness: pride and selfishness.  I always want to be right, to prove someone wrong, to win, to be first...  Humility and trust does not come naturally to anyone, myself included.  It's hard to trust in and ask what God's will is for our life, let alone some fellow off in Rome with a pointy hat and staff.  The ladies and the books suggested above probably do a far better job of explaining how that relates to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church than I could!

  • You all are so wonderful and have such amazing stories. Thank you for sharing!

    FI and I definitely have some things to read and think and pray about, but we have been talking more and more about exploring this more, especially once we are married in a couple months and deciding where we want to be involved and eventually raising a family. Besides contraception, which started this whole thing for us, the main issue we find really compelling is canonicity. Either Church defined the canon (and had the legitimate authorirty to do so) or canon is defined on a "priesthood of all believers" kind of level in the local church, which is essentially what happens in at least most protestant churches (we quietly keep most of the epistles, the gospels, Genesis 1-3,  Psalms and Proverbs, and a few other random books and passages and throw out the rest) without admitting it. That is definitely not acknowledged, but those seem like the only two options, and the second one is pretty absurdly relativistic. So if we accept that the canon is defined on the authority of the Church, then the Church has to have the authority to interpret it and instruct believers. Does that make sense?

    Then we come back to the question of which Church has a legitimate claim to that role, which we struggle with because we haven't really bought in to the idea of Peter's spiritual primacy among the disciples (at least yet!) What a couple of you said about the visible church needing a head for the sake of unity is compelling to me though, and we have come to the conclusion that most of this is more theologically logical than explicitly scriptural, if that makes sense.

    Most of you have mentioned RCIA.  I am not really familiar with that term, and I am sure I could clear it up with a google search, but it would be interesting to hear about your specific experiences, too. 
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  • Lauren, I would really recommend reading Scott's Hahn's Rome Sweet Home. It is his and his wife's personal conversion story. In a lot of ways, it is similar to what you describe (aversion to contraception followed by questions about Sola Scriptura followed by a myriad of other questions, inlcuding that of the canon). I think you would really relate to a lot of the insights, concerns, etc. that are expressed in the book.

    RCIA is an acronym for the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, and is the most common formation for adults who seek to receive the sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and First Eucharist) to formally join the Catholic Church. Generally, a session will start in the fall and run through the Easter Vigil (Saturday evening before Easter). During that time, they will receive information about what the Church teaches and why, study scripture, and discern their call to the Church. There are stages to the process, and people are not pressured into going further as they go along. Many church have, or will be starting in the next couple of months, an inquiry group for people who just want to learn more about the faith.

    To be totally honest, since there is no "curriculum" (besides the Catechism!), classes look pretty different at different parishes. Most have classes once a week, many on Sunday which include attending the first part of mass (Liturgy of the Word) and spending the second part (Liturgy of the Eucharist) discussing the readings and homily.

    Because my parish has RCIA classes year-round and I started just before Lent the year I began, and because I was baptized, I was received into the Church in the fall. This is an example of how the process is not set-in-stone, but what I've described is the most common pattern.

    At the Easter Vigil, those who have not been baptized in the trinitarian form (in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) will be, those who have been baptized will make a profession of faith (I believe in all the Church teaches to be true), and all receive the other Sacraments. It is a long, beautiful liturgy, really the pinnacle of the Catholic experience (there's a lot of other stuff, too, so it lasts a good 2-3 hours, but is totally worth it!).
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  • Laura- I'm not sure if you're asking what RCIA is, but it is the process by which people become Catholics and baptized (or finish the process if they have already done some of that.) Most (all?) churches offer it in some form, usually it involves a group meeting once a week where you will listen to talks, (it usually starts with the academic year,) and then in the early spring the process becomes more deliberate where you start to enter the Church, culminating with the Easter Vigil when people are baptized and/or confirmed.

    One thing I would like to suggest for you, on your search, especially when/if you get to the point of starting to look at actual churches to investigate which one you might go through RCIA at, just remember that there is a certain percentage of Catholic churches that will "water down" Church teaching. If you do happen to stumble upon one that just doesn't "feel right," or that you know isn't teaching you the whole Truth (based on what you've already researched,) then just RUN. Don't feel bad about finding another church! (And please don't hold it against the whole rest of the Church!) :-)

    God bless you in your search That is so admirable! Prayers for you! :-)
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  • I am a convert as well...I had never considered being Catholic - in fact, if you had told me five years ago that I would be Catholic now I would've laughed out loud.

    My husband (then just my very good friend) and I were hiking quite a lot at the time (we met through the Ozark Trail Association, building trail). One Saturday, he said that he wanted to come down early from the mountain so we could go to church. I just stared at him and then said, "I knew you were Catholic, but I didn't think you were THAT Catholic!" But down we went, and I was actually pretty resentful that he was picking something over me. And church! I mean, at that point, I maybe went to church at Christmas, and that's about it.

    But I figured...if we were going to be more than friends (which we both wanted to be), I better get to know this part of him, because it was clearly important to him. So the next time we saw each other, I asked if I could go to church with him. We both were in our hiking clothes, but off to Mass we went.

    I had never felt that way in any church in my life. I was completely absorbed by every bit of it...it was so novel, all the up and down, and people responding. And we were fortunate that this priest is (was, he's over 90 now and sadly not at the church anymore) an amazingly sharp and funny homilist. I thought I was hooked, but I thought I'd better check it out more to be sure it was love for the Church and not just for my dear friend!

    So I went to three or four more Masses in different churches, and though all were different, they all affected me. I started calling different parishes in my area to see where I might take RCIA classes. I was afraid to go to my nearest church, because someone I'd had conflict with was Catholic, and I thought she might be there (little did I know she is a lapsed Catholic). I called the church where DH and I had gone, but they had no classes - they did conduct individual training sometimes, but they didn't seem too inclined to. Which is understandable - at that time, one priest was 86 years old and not in good health, and the other was just recovering from a major stroke. And they were trying to cover 3 different churches!

    So I went to another church about 18 miles away.

    Oh my goodness. From the minute I walked in the door, I felt like I was home. Again, the homilist was just brilliant, so passionate and learned. I got ready to leave, I was just about at my truck, then I turned and said to myself, "I'm going to just ask about RCIA." I waited while the priest greeted others...then he told me they were having class right then. I went, and the rest is history. I entered the Church in March of 2008,

    I have never, ever regretted my decision, though when DH and I were  going through the annulment process I admit I felt some despair! I love the Church, and have never felt more involved in my faith. I feel so excited for those who are just starting on this journey...just love it and enjoy it when the time comes!!!!

    Linda
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  • PS - Duh - I was born, baptized, and confirmed Methodist before coming to Catholicism.


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  • Thank you all for your advice and stories!
    image Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I thought this article might be of interest to you.  It shares various stories of people who have converted to Catholicism or recommitted themselves to the Church: http://www.osv.com/tabid/7621/itemid/9246/Home-at-last.aspx
  • This is another good website for conversion stories.
    http://whyimcatholic.com/

    I am a cradle Catholic, although my dad is not Catholic and while my mother made sure I went to religion classes and received all the sacraments, I grew up with was a kind of watered down faith. Also I really enjoyed reading all of your experiences!
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  • I just took my sacraments a few weeks ago at the Easter Vigil Mass.

    I converted for a few reasons. Growing up, I went to Sunday school, was baptized and was taught to believe in God, but my family wasn't terribly relgious. I've always been interested in becoming more involved in the church, but never really had the push to do it, and didn't really want to go back to the church I had attended as a child. (It is a Evangelical Congragational Church, very nice, but also very odd. For instance, they insisted on spelling my name incorrectly because it was the biblical spelling, and even went so far as to tell my mother she spelled it wrong, even after she presented my birth certificate and baptism certificate from a different church)
    My FI's family is Catholic and my FI was baptized Catholic, but never completed the rest of his sacraments. When we became engaged, the first 2 items on our list were Reception Venue and Ceremony Venue. We knew we wanted a church wedding and neither of us had been to church in a long time. My FI's family mostly belong to the same church and some of them still attend on a regular basis.

    We sat down and discussed it and decided we would marry Catholic. We knew they he would at the very least have to finish his sacraments, and that's what gave me the push to take the plunge and convert to Catholicism. I tend to be a little anal and a little OCD, so for me, having a church that followed the same set of rules and had an order to how things worked very much appealed to me. By this time, I had also learned a great deal about the Catholic church in college and even though I don't agree with all of their beliefs, I was more for them than against them.

    Getting in was the hard part. Generally, you join the closest Catholic church in your zip code, however, one of my FI's aunts suggested we go to her chuch. She and her husband go to a seperate Catholic church than the rest of the family. She told us we needed to call about getting into the RCIA classes since they were already starting. We called 3 times and no one ever called us back. At that point we were nearing the end of January 2011, and were worried because we were told RCIA classes last until the folllowing Easter. If we didn't join in time, we wouldn't be able to get married in the church.
    At that point, my FI spoke with his grandmother. Her sister is very well known and connected to our church and literally within 10 minutes of his conversation with his gradnmother, the RCIA director called him back and set up for us to come in.

    The process is long, and it does take a committment. You do need to be there for your own reasons and not just because you are getting married. Our class met once a week in the evening, and we were required to attend Mass every Sunday. The closer we got to our sacraments, the more additional time we had to put into classes and events. However, through the process we became closer to each other and closer i our relationships with God. I enjoy going to Mass every Sunday, and even though we are not having a Mass for our wedding (due to my family not being Catholic), I'm very much looking forward to our wedding. I was also pleased to find that our church is on the more liberal side of the Catholic spectrum, so the few things I didn't fully agree with when it came to the church ended up being okay.

    Just remember that if you do make the choice to marry Catholic and to convert, you will also have to take the marriage prep program all Catholics have to complete before they can be married by the church. Different areas offer it different ways, but we met every Sunday evening for I believe 6 weeks. We went over a variety of topics with couples who had been together a variety of years and came from a variety of backgrounds. We took the class with other engaged Catholic couples in our area so it was nice to realize we weren't the only ones doing all of this.

    At the end of the day, do it for you. It's worth it.
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