Are you considering the Catholic faith?
"When you look to me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)
People are drawn to the Catholic faith in many ways. At times, it is through the practice of the faith that we observe in friends, coworkers, or spouses. At other times, it is through independent inquiry — whether that is in the form of more academic study of religions, watching a Catholic Mass or priests sharing the beauty of the Catholic faith on the internet, or simply attending a Catholic Church and being drawn to a certain community.
We welcome you and want to walk with you as you prayerfully consider where God is leading you. Below are ideas to help you hear God’s voice and suggestions on next steps should you decide to take a step in learning more about the Catholic faith.
Begin with Prayer
“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:16-18)
Prayer is at the heart of the Christian's life of faith. Prayer is transformative. Whether before entering into a formal process to become Catholic, or while in the process, building a habit of dedicated and intentional prayer will change your life. It is in prayer that you will intimately encounter God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit will be your teacher guide. Pray every day, even if only briefly. Do not be discouraged if you struggle with prayer. A significant part of a Becoming Catholic process is fostering new habits that will help you see God’s face more clearly.
Some structured prayers that may help you include:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Mt. 7:7)
Asking questions about the Catholic faith is an essential part of any Becoming Catholic process. In fact the very first part of the process is titled “Inquiry.” However, you can also begin this process as you are considering this next step.
A few resources that can help you explore the Catholic faith include:
- The Catechism in a Year – Follow along with Fr. Mike Schmitz as he reads the Catechism in a Year. Each podcast episode reads a portion of the Catechism and offers deeper understandings of what is meant and how it is lived.
- Catholic Answers – one of the world’s largest databases about the practices and beliefs of the Catholic Church.
- Why Mass? - Learn more about the Catholic Mass with this five-part series.
Talk to Someone at a Local Catholic Church
Contacting the pastor or a staff member at a local Catholic Church is the best way to help you explore the Catholic faith an answer questions about processes on becoming Catholic. Becoming Catholic programs (many times called RCIA or the Rite of Christian Initiation of adults) offered at most Catholic Churches for adults who are interested in learning more. Visiting with someone or even beginning a Becoming Catholic program doesn’t commit you to eventually being part of the Catholic Church.
For help in finding a local parish see the links below:
- Find a Church near me – There are 80 parishes across central and southwest Iowa. Find the parish closest to and attend Mass or reach out to the pastor.
- Contact John Gaffney at the Diocese of Des Moines – John can visit with you about Becoming Catholic programs and any questions you have. He can also help you find someone close to your location to visit with.
What if I have never been baptized?
If you have never been baptized, you prepare for the catechumenate. This process includes several stages marked by study, prayer and rites at Mass. The catechumens undergo a process of conversion as they study the Gospel, profess faith in Jesus and the Catholic Church, and receive the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and Holy Eucharist at the Easter Vigil.
What if I have been baptized in another Protestant faith?
If you are baptized in another Christian tradition, you prepare as prospective candidate for full communion. This initiation process prepares the candidate to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church by celebrating the sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Eucharist.