Finding Faith in the Catholic Church
What is Conversion?
Conversion, at its most basic level, is a change, when one things changes to another. In the context of Catholic Conversion, we are talking about those who have changed to the Catholic faith. They may come from a number of different paths, but the destination is the same (and that's all that matters). Some are new to Christianity; others are converting from a different Christian denominations; some are simply Cradle Catholics "reverting" to the faith they once knew. It does not matter where we started, but where we're going instead.
The Catholic Conversion Process
First, a little background. Catholics believe in 7 Sacraments, and a few are important for the conversion process. First, a Catholic must be baptized. So, part of the process, if someone has not been baptized already (more on that in another section), is to be baptized.
Once someone has been baptized, the conversion process continues with RCIA, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. This is the Sacrament of Confirmation. But before the ritual takes place, there is a number of classes and other items to do first. If you are interested in starting this process, contact your local parish.
Why does it take so long?
As a Protestant, I have been to my fair share of churches. For many of them, becoming a member simply meant attending a 30-minute informational meeting. From that point on, they were more than willing to cash your check. The Catholic Church, however, takes the process more seriously and sees it as a time of learning and discernment.
When I first began the RCIA process, I was frustrated, as well. My Christian background had already taught me a lot about the faith, and I did not feel that it was necessary. As I got further into the process, I realized that there was a lot more to Catholicism than I originally thought. Catholicism has a depth and richness that I did not expect, and it took time to absorb all of it.
Do not start the process thinking it will be done in a number of hours. It can take many months, if not a year or more, to complete. Use this time to search your heart and truly decide that God is calling you to the Catholic Church. The length of the process bothered me, at first, but eventually, I came to respect and admire RCIA (enough for me to create this website).
The Next Step in Conversion
The next step is beginning the RCIA program at your local parish. They start at different times at each parish (though generally in the fall), and you will want to contact them before classes begin. Then, be ready for regular classes - some are once or twice a month, others are once or twice a week. The time commitment may seem difficult, but I have not met a priest yet that was not willing to work with your schedule.
What should you expect? Be ready to learn and change dramatically. Everyone has different experiences; therefore, do not compare yourself with others. Some will dive into the theology. Othes will be half asleep during class. You might be somewhere inbetween. Regardless, your experience is your experience - you only get out what you put in.
You are about to start an amazing journey. Know that my prayers are going out for you. Remember, you are not alone. Whenever you have questions or need help, talk to your priests, your sponsor, or even contact me at this site; I would be more than happy to help. May God bless you on your journey!