Frequently Asked Questions
How do I join the Catholic Church?
This depends on you and where you are on your faith journey. If you are fairly new to Catholicism or have limited experience with the Christian faith, you may still find it helpful to continue to explore Catholicism for a time before moving into the Catechumenate gathering. Each person’s journey is unique and the RCIA Team will assist you in utilizing the RCIA process at St. Francis of Assisi so that your journey is fruitful and fulfilling.
Why does joining the Catholic faith take so long?
When someone comes forward with an interest in joining the Catholic Church, that interest is then to be joined with knowledge about the Church’s traditions and teachings, as well as a sufficient experience of the Catholic faith community. Joining the Catholic Church is not about passing a test on Catholicism; rather it is about learning and living the Gospel of Jesus in the context of the parish and wider Catholic community. This takes time and it is suggested that one wishing to join the Church experience at least one full liturgical year of the Catholic faith community.
Adult baptisms are celebrated each year at the Easter Vigil (the Saturday night before Easter Sunday), which occurs each year in the Spring. If one comes to the parish in December with a desire to be baptized and to join the Church, the following Easter would only be approximately 4 months away. This is not sufficient time for someone to experience the fullness of the Catholic faith Church and community. This “December seeker” would be welcomed into the RCIA process, would journey with a fellow group of seekers each week, and would most likely be baptized and initiated into the Catholic Church approximately 16 months later. If one comes to the parish in the spring having made a decision to join the church, depending on the level of preparation needed, that person may be deemed ready to be initiated into the church at the following Easter, which would be approximately 12 months later.
The goal in joining the Catholic Church is not to be baptized, although the Sacrament of Baptism is a priceless gift from our God. The goal is to grow in your love and awareness of God, to begin or build on your relationship with Jesus Christ, and to learn how the Catholic faith community lives out this call. Baptism is part of the journey but not a finish line to sprint towards. Joining the Church is a process of shaping our hearts, minds, and spirits so they look more like God’s. The rich exploration of faith is not a race, but a journey to be savored, reflected upon, and celebrated.
I was baptized as a Catholic and received my first Eucharist, but I was never confirmed. Do I jump into the RCIA process too?
Yes, those who are solely preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation will also find the Catechumenate sessions to be an excellent way to prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Adult Confirmations can also occur throughout the year. The RCIA Coordinator can give you additional information.
Do Catholics worship Mary?
If you know of a Catholic who “worships” Mary then he or she is NOT a Catholic. Worship is for God alone. Catholics venerate Mary. Jesus said: “Honor thy mother and father: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death, (Mt. 15:5).” Just as Jesus honors His mother, so do we, for on the cross Jesus gave His mother to all mankind when he said to St. John: …Behold thy mother! (Jn. 19:27)
What is an alternative to abortion?
Call loving and helpful people with answers to this question at 1.800.395. help(4357). This number will connect you with your nearest pregnancy resource center.
Or check out information online at www.optionline.org
What is sin?
Sin is doing what is wrong, as well as not doing what is right. It is breaking the Law of God (1 John 3:4). In other words, it is doing what is against God’s will. If He says “Do not lie,” and you lie, then you have sinned. If He says “Do not steal,” and you steal, then you have sinned. And, according to God, sin separates you from Him (Isaiah 59:2).
Sin is an offense to God’s character. Because God cannot lie, it is wrong for you to lie. Because God cannot steal, it is wrong for you to steal. Right and wrong, then, is a manifestation of the character of God. God is holy; He cannot sin. Sin offends Him personally because they are His laws of right and wrong you are breaking. If you have offended Him, then you must find a way to “unoffend” Him. The problem is that you can’t, but He can and has, by offering His Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross as a sacrifice for sin.