Do you want to Join the Catholic Church?

The Catholic Church is not just one denomination among many. In fact, it is the only faith that can trace its founding roots back to Jesus Christ, who started our Church. For 2,000 years, the Catholic Church has guarded the truth that Jesus has taught, whether in or out of style. In the Church today, one can experience the most personal relationship with Christ through the Holy Eucharist, the gift of Christ’s Body and Blood to us. Since its founding, the Catholic Church has continued to be the largest body of Christians on earth. Though it’s not perfect, nor does it have perfect members, the Church still contains the fullness of truth, which Jesus promised would set us free.

Not only are Catholic teachings rooted in the Bible, the Catholic Church, having been given authority by Jesus Christ and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, compiled the Bible in the form that it exists today. The Catholic Church has as its sole rule of faith the entire Word of God, as it is found in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. It is important to remember that all of the Word of God was at one time (after the death of Christ and before the compilation of the Bible) passed on orally through Sacred Tradition. Catholic beliefs are all rooted in the Word of God—communicated through Scripture and Tradition, and preserved by the Church.

Still the guiding light for the majority of non-Catholic Christians is the Bible alone. But if the Bible alone is sufficient, why so many contradictory opinions as to who Jesus is, what is necessary for salvation, how we ought to live our lives, and whether belonging to a church — to any church — is even necessary?

Seeking the answer to these questions is what led many to re-examine the very foundations of our Christian assumptions. Members of Protestant faiths, Mormonism, non-denominational, Anglican, as well as agnostics, atheists, and those belonging to non-Christian religions, have delved deeply into the Catholic Church and offer their incredible testimonies at The Coming Home Network.

If you are ready to explore how to become a Catholic, congratulations!  You are already on your way toward a deeper faith.  If you would like to consider St. Mark’s as your home parish, please call Msgr. Sean Flynn at 732-449-6364 ext. 101. There is a conversion path called the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) where you study and ask questions about the Church. It involves spiritual and educational formation through which adults explore the Catholic Faith and become fully initiated members of the Roman Catholic Church. Here is an overview of the steps:

Inquiry

A candidate can enter into this stage at any time during the year. This period is marked by unpacking the Sunday Scriptures, and answering the questions that the “inquirer” has about faith, God and Church and its teachings. This is a time of initial discernment to see if becoming Catholic is the right step for you.

Stage one: Catechumenate

This Rite of Welcome moves us into our first stage of formation. You attend Sunday Mass and select a sponsor/companion for discussion meetings. You continue to reflect deeply on the Sunday scripture, and examine related Catholic beliefs, teachings, customs,traditions and prayer.

Stage two: Purification and Enlightenment

At the beginning of Lent, (the 40 days prior to Easter), is a period of formation, which coincides with the season of Lent. It is more reflective and prayerful.

Stage three: Reception of Sacraments and Mystagogia

If you were never Baptized, you receive three Sacraments (Baptism, First Holy Communion, and Confirmation) as you enter full initiation into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil Service on Holy Saturday (the evening before Easter Sunday).

After reception of the Sacraments there is a period called Mystagogia. The terms means to unpack the mystery.  During this period you continue for a short time to discern God’s movement your life and ways you can become an active participant of the Church.