I am a new convert about to start RCIA in a couple of weeks. As a Baptist, I did not learn or have any need to know who the saints were. Now converting, and being 38 years old, I’m having trouble with memorizing or learning all of the prayers and I’ve not even started on the saints, there are so many. Does anybody have a way that works for them that they’d be willing to share with me?
You don’t have to do everything all at once. As a Baptist, you may have memorized many Bible verses, no? The Baptist church here has Awanas, and the children learn one or two verses each week, then by the time they are adults, they have quite a few memorized.
You can learn some of the most important prayers by praying the Rosary along with a recording–there are several audio versions online. At first, you will do a terrible job of praying the Rosary: trying to manage both the prayers and the meditations is *really hard. *You will be able to pick up the Hail Mary within days (53 repetitions a day will do that ), but soon you will find that you know the other prayers as well. One day you will want to pray the Rosary without your recording, in the dentist’s chair for example, and you may mix up the mysteries, but after a few weeks, you will even have them down!
As to the saints, there are the most common saints, and then those for particular purposes, learn about those first. With patron saints, people learn about the saints relevant to them: if you are a firefighter, for instance, you might want to learn about Saint Florian.
Mostly Catholics have the major prayers memorized through use, but they are still included in almost every prayer book, so it is not unusual for people to not have them memorized. And we use our prayer books frequently–this is why I am so grateful for my iPod, so I don’t have to carry three books around with me
So don’t worry about not knowing everything all at once, take it easy and drink this information in slowly, like appreciating a fine wine… which as a Catholic you will be able to do. It’s better to go slow and deep than to skim over the top of a lot of things, just as it’s better to truly appreciate one glass of great wine than to drink a lot of wine quickly.
I am also a convert. From the methodist church. When I took my RCIA class my deacon whom was also my instructor bought me a copy of saints for dummies. It has many great saints in it and makes reading about them much easier. You can also google catholic saints to find different ones. I recommend starting with the more common ones then move on from there. I my self prefer to read about obscure saints. And just for a tidbit did you know that one of the most well know saints St. Patrick is also one with the least information on his life. Welcome to the church, the prayers get easier over time and in my opinion there is never enough information on saints