Becoming A Catholic

“Come to me, all you who labour and are over-burdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, and you shall find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)

Adults who wish to explore becoming a Catholic, or who simply wish to find out more about the Catholic faith, are welcome to ‘come and see’, as Jesus invited his first followers.

However, like any family or group, it takes a little time to find your way in. The gathering of the Church on Sundays for Mass is a daunting crowd, with its own rituals and ways of acting that may feel rather unfamiliar  So the Church offers enquirers a path to follow and a place to ask questions and seek understanding and explanations, and gradual involvement and ‘in-culturation’.

This is called formally “The Rite of Christian Initiation”, ‘RCIA’ for short. In Saint Helen’s a group of enquirers meets with ‘catechists’, guides, and with other members of the community who share faith an sometimes take on a closer relationship as sponsers or ‘god-parents’. They gather every Thursday at 7.45pm in the Parish Hall.You are most welcome to come and join in, or you may prefer to find out a little more first by contacting the Parish Office.

The RCIA maps out a path of growing involvement, recognition, and mutual commitment, with markers or gateways along the road. It is a journey of ‘conversion’, turning our lives round to centre on Christ.

So at first we will share our own experience, our questions, needs, and hungers; we will listen to how they are mirrored, and also answered in the Scriptures.

After a time of initial enquiry, you will be invited to enrol formally as a ‘Catechumen’, literally an ‘echo-er’, seeing how the story we are telling resonates in your mind and heart.

During this time we will work with you on a more formal syllabus of learning. We will pray with you and help you learn how we pray in Christ’s Body the Church. And we will encourage you to review and renew your spiritual and your moral vision and life.

When you and we feel the time is right, we will take you to meet the Bishop, the father and shepherd of our local church family, who every Lent, on the Sunday after Ash Wednesday, asks to meet, pray for and commission those who ask to enter into and share the Paschal Mystery of Christ’s Death and Resurrection at Easter: He will call those chosen to be official Candidates for Baptism into Christ and Confirmation as a full member of the Communion of His Body in the Church.

The six weeks of Lent are an intense ‘retreat’, a spiritual time of prayer, ‘fasting’ and generosity, leading up to Holy Week.

Then on Easter night, surrounded by the local church, supported by your sponsers and friends, you are invited to listen with us in vigil to the story of God’s love through the ages, and to be plunged into and formally join in the Church’s celebration of the New Life in the Risen Christ.

For the following fifty days of Easter, you are the centre and focus of our Sunday celebrations. Called a ‘neophyte’, new-born, we look with you at the mystery we have shared, and the sacraments which keep it alive and growing in us as a community week by week and year by year.

Daunting? It is! But glorious too. As they say, how do you climb a mountain? – A step at  a time. We all travel this road, and we still haven’t reached the end. But together each day’s small step builds on yesterday’s and whets our appetite for tomorrow’s. If you want to step this way, come along. Talk to one of the welcomers at the church door, or to a catholic friend, and ask them to take you over the first step, and point you to the next.

Alternatively, email Father John using the form below:

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