Am I a member of the church?


#1

How’s it going with everyone!

I had just recently wondered, as I am trying to get back in to my faith am I a catholic or a protestant? So just for everyone to know I remember going into RCIA, doing my first confession and recieving first communion. But I remember last year as I was going back to church the deacon said that I was not recorded in the parish. Which got me thinking if I was not recorded in the parish was my first confession and first communion null and void? Am I even a member of the church? Also have I commited sacrilege? If no one can give me a clear answer is there a way to find out officialy?


#2

If you are a baptized person who has been received into the Church, then you are a member of the Church. What the deacon likely meant is that you are not enrolled as a member of the parish. These are very different things.


#3

You don’t say if you were baptized as a Catholic or a Protestant.

If you were baptized as a Catholic, your sacramental records would be held at the parish where you were baptized. Your current parish should have sent the information to that parish updating your status. I assume you were confirmed as part of RCIA so that would have been recorded. You could call that parish to verify that this was all taken care of.

If you were baptized as a Protestant, then your sacramental records would be established at the parish where you participated in RCIA and received the sacraments of initiation. They would record your baptism, whenever that would have occurred, plus the additional sacraments you received. You can check with your parish secretary to make sure this is all set.

On a day-to-day basis your records aren’t that important, but if the time comes that you want to marry, enter religious life, or need to verify your status in order to be a godparent, then you’ll need them.

You might want to talk with the deacon to find out what exactly he was talking about.


#4

Just to specify and make clear. I was baptized as a baptist, when I was young. So Suscipe I would be able to check with the rectory and they should be able to confirm if I am a member of the church? I just want to double check is all. Since I don’t want to use the sacraments when I’m not suposed to.


#5

Believe me, records are not important. What is in your heart is. If you completed RCIA and were allowed to go to Confession and receive Holy Communion, you are indeed a Catholic.
However, to ease your mind, I would contact the Parish in which you went to RCIA and see if you are on record there. If possible, contact the priest who was in charge of the RCIA or the person who was your instructor. They should be able to ease your mind.


#6

Check with the dioceses as well, you can just google it to find out which dioceses you belong to. You could go to the RCIA folks as well and they should be able to do any number of things to help find the status of your paperwork; talk to the priest, fill out some forms and send to the diocese, etc. It’s all easy but can be hard to find the right place to start. RCIA is a good place because they have to deal with these issues all the time. Good luck.


#7

Since you were validly baptized (as you said in a later post), and assuming you completed RCIA (Confession, Eucharist, and Confirmation), you are absolutely a member of the Church. Whether or not there are records would not change this, although it is best that they do exist. Since there is some question about this, it is worth tracking them down and, if somehow they did get completely lost (which seems unlikely), talking to your priest to get them restored/made, so that you know they will be there should you need them later.

But again, records do not grant you membership into the Church, they just record it.


#8

I agree that the records, of themselves, don’t determine if you are Catholic. The sacraments do that.

But you do need to get the records thing sorted out. It may not seem like a big thing right now, but if you ever want to get married, enter the religious life, become a priest, etc the lack of records is going to be a problem. Contact the priest where you were baptised/confirmed/etc and get it straightened out.


#9

You ARE a member of the Church. But yes, check with the parish and make sure everything is properly recorded. Paperwork has been known to fall through the cracks and it’s easier to correct when there isn’t a big rush.


#10

I suggest you make an appointment with your pastor to discuss your status in the Church. The replies in this thread are full of assumptions, and some misinformation.

First of all, reconciliation and communion do not mean you were received into full communion to the Catholic Church. Secondly, you do not mention confirmation. Reconciliation and communion do not make a non-Catholic into a Catholic. As a baptized individual, they were certainly not “null and void”, they were valid sacraments. It is atypical for a non-Catholic to receive communion without being received into the Church and confirmed, but it certainly isn’t unheard of.

Perhaps your memory is fuzzy and you don’t recall all these various things, or perhaps you were not received into the Church and did not complete your sacraments of initiation.

You won’t know until you inquire with your pastor specifically about these two things: reception into full communion and confirmation.


#11

If you are not registered with the parish all you have to do is fill out a “New to the Parish card”. I have moved parishes before and it is dead easy.

Keeping records of Baptism, Confirmation, etc. are a different thing. Follow the advice already given in the above posts.


#12

You say that you remember going into RCIA. Could you clarify:

Were you received into the Church? (I know, that’s your question, but I mean it in the sense of “do you remember going through the ceremony?”)

This might or might not have happened at the Easter Vigil, or even outside of Mass.

All that is necessary is this part: you say (or you answer in the affirmative to the priest’s question) that you believe and profess all that the Church teaches… Then the priest says that “the Catholic Church welcomes you…”

Do you remember that happening? If not, what do you remember?


#13

Well I would talk with my priest, but the priest that I had during RCIA has retired, so I’m not sure if the new priest would be able to sort that out :(.


#14

First of all I would like to appologize for posting another message, but to answer the question of what I remember. I do remember standing up in front of the church and answering questions at the easter vigil mass, and again along with first communion.


#15

You need to make an appointment with your pastor and explain the situation to him. He will be able to sort it out.


#16

Thank you! I will make an appointment with the priest, and I guess I will also check to see if there are records just to put my mind at ease. Also is it normal to feel nervous going back? Since this new pastor I have met while I have tried to go back to church last year but fell out of my faith again.


#17

The pastor will do that when you make an appointment and talk to him and tell him you are unsure whether you completed your sacraments of initiation.

Pastors counsel people in all sorts of stages of their faith journey, he has seen it all. Just be honest with him and he will help you.


#18

In that case, it does appear that you were received into the Church. Of course, that’s not something I can determine from here. If you had said that you never finished RCIA that would have been different.

Do ask the current pastor to verify the record.

First of all, were you given a certificate? If you have one, that would make things very easy. Did anyone take photos? Do you remember your sponsor’s name? Who ran the RCIA program? These aren’t questions for me, but questions for you to help you gather information that the current pastor will need if there is indeed no record. Perhaps the deacon just did not find the record the first time he looked—that happens.

If you were received, the record might be in a book called the “Book of the Elect” or it might be in the Baptismal register. Technically it doesn’t belong in the Baptism register, but some parishes don’t have a Book of the Elect, and these things are fairly new. It’s possible the deacon was looking in the right book, but the record is in the “wrong” book.
Third option is to check the Confirmation records.


#19

How old were you? Was it RCIA (Adults age 18 or older) or RCIC (Children, age 7-17)? Baptized children under 7 are assumed to be Catholic with the initiation of their parents. Confirmation might not be given along with first Eucharist but may be delayed to the usual age in the parish. Programs are designed to have children celebrate the sacraments at the right grade levels.


#20

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