Interested in becoming a Catholic?
Have you reached a moment in your life when you feel drawn to share in the faith life of the Catholic Church? Do you want to know more about the Catholic Church? In St John Vianney Parish you will find a warm welcome and the guidance and help that you need.
The first step that you need to take is to have a chat with Fr Jonathan, our Parish Priest. It is probably best to make an appointment to see him. He will be happy to answer your questions and he will be able to explain how the parish can support you in preparing to become a Catholic or just finding out about the Catholic faith. He will also encourage you to begin coming to Mass on Sundays so that you become more familiar with the central act of worship for Catholics and the life of the parish community. It might be helpful to chat to any family or friends you have who are Catholics to find out a little more.
The Church has a special programme for enquirers who want to know more about the Catholic faith and a process for those who wish to be received into membership of the Catholic Church. This is called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).
If you want to take part in this, you are welcome to join our Journey in Faith group which meets on Thursday evenings from September at St John Vianney Church at 7.45pm. The meetings last for about an hour and a half. Each meeting consists of a talk on an aspect of the Catholic faith and a time for discussion and raising questions. At each meeting there is always a time for prayer. This series of meetings will continue until next June. Those who have taken part in the past always say that they have learnt a lot about the Catholic faith and especially how to live it.
Experience has shown that around Christmas time, the “enquirers” who are attending the meetings know, or at least have a good idea, if they want to become members of the Catholic Church. Once they have made the request to be received into the Church, they are known as catechumens if they have not been baptised, or candidates if they have been baptised in another Christian denomination. They will then be baptised or received into full-communion with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, night which marks the beginning of the Season of Easter.
The Season of Lent will be an important time of preparation for the catechumens and candidates. On Sunday the First Sunday of Lent, they will be invited to take part in the Rite of Election at St. Chad’s Cathedral in Birmingham. At this ceremony they will be “elected” by the Archbishop for reception into the Church at Easter. He will encourage and welcome each catechumen and candidate along with their sponsor and may be other family members. This is a beautiful ceremony attended by many people throughout our diocese who are preparing to join the Catholic Church.
During the remainder of Lent, catechumens and candidates will have many other opportunities to prepare for their reception into the Church. Opportunities for prayer, discussion with parishioners and with Fr. Jonathan will also assist them. By this time they will be regularly attending Sunday Mass. Each catechumen or candidate will require a sponsor to encourage and support them as they prepare to be received into the Church. This person will be a Catholic whose life of faith is important to them.
Taking part in the beautiful ceremonies of Holy Week that lead up to the Easter Vigil will be very important for the catechumens and candidates. Through these ceremonies the Church celebrates what gives meaning to the Catholic faith, namely the death and resurrection of Christ. The sacraments that the catechumens and candidates will receive at the Easter Vigil, and throughout their lives as Catholics, will bring them to share more fully in his life.