Can I return to the Church?

Not sure if this is the right forum for this question, I apologize if it isn’t. I am a 42-year old, devoted single father. As a child, I was Baptized Catholic, received First Communion, and strictly attended Sunday Mass. At age 13, my family moved and I ceased attending Church. In my early 20’s, I became homeless through a combination of bad luck and poor choices. At this time, I entered into a common law marriage with a non-Catholic and we began, together, to dig ourselves out of poverty. A few years later, we had our two beautiful children, who are now young adults. Several years ago, she decided to leave (divorce) me and promptly remarried. Since then, we each have exactly 50% custody of our two children.
My question is: How do I now go about returning to Church? I diligently try to live my life peacefully and humbly. I read my Bible and pray every day. Given the above history, will I ever be able to receive the Eucharist again? Also, I never did receive Confirmation. Is there any hope for becoming confirmed?
I am somewhat introverted and mildly frightened by social interaction, so it has taken a lot for me to feel ready to resume attendance to Mass. I have heard from some that I need to take this up in Confession, and from others that I should be prepared to pay more than $10K to the church over a period of years before I can participate in the Catholic Church. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you and may God Bless you.

How do you return to the Church? Through the sacrament of reconciliation. Make a good confession and return to the sacraments.

Contact the local Catholic parish and ask for an appointment with the pastor to talk about your situation. He can guide you, especially since it’s been a long time since your last confession.

He may also suggest some adult classes (which are optional) since you left at such a young age. He will know what is available in his local parish for spiritual help.

He can also help you receive the sacrament of Confirmation to complete your sacraments of initiation.

That is completely ridiculous and inaccurate information.

Whoever told you the 10K thing you now know you can file in your mind under “Never ask another Catholic question again”. I have never heard of such a thing in my life and I can only think they made it up out of hostility to the church and gross inconsideration to you.

1ke is right, you only have to go to confession and you are back! The suggestion to meet with a priest is a good one, but you can begin your journey just by showing up at confession and then Mass! It woudl be nice to visit various parishes and see where you feel comfortable.

Some old folks mistakenly think one is not welcome at church if they have been divorced, but actually that was never the case. You can certainly continue to receive communion after divorce. Its just remarrying - unless your first marriage has been annulled, you cannot be remarried and receive Holy Communion, because your first marriage is considered valid unless it has been annulled, so the second marraige woudl be basically like adultery; a state in which you cannot receive Holy Communion.

However, even though you two lived like married persons, were you not actually married? You said “common law”. That would not require an annulment, just confession.

You return to the Church one step at a time as you are comfortable.

The first step is to start attending Mass again and it sounds like you’ve done that.

When you’re ready, you can go in one of several directions.

  • You could go to confession and reconcile with God and the Church. Then you will be able to receive communion again.

  • Or it may be easier to make an appointment to meet with a priest in your parish. This would allow you to go to confession, but also to pursue other questions you might have.

  • Or your parish may have a program for returning Catholics and that can be another way to go.

Yes, you can be confirmed – it’s never too late! Parishes handle adult confirmation in different ways. Some may have classes to prepare adults for confirmation. Others group Catholics needing confirmation in with RCIA. Sometimes dioceses have classes to prepare adults for the sacrament. Your parish will be able to tell you what is available in your area.

I have heard from some that I need to take this up in Confession, and from others that I should be prepared to pay more than $10K to the church over a period of years before I can participate in the Catholic Church.

I don’t know who is telling you that it will cost $10K to return to the Church, but they are just flat-out wrong. The Church doesn’t charge some kind of admission fee.

Perhaps – and this is a guess – the person was referring to the cost of obtaining a declaration of nullity (annulment) of a marriage. It wouldn’t cost that much in any case, but in your situation it won’t be an issue since you are a Catholic, bound by Catholic marriage law, who did not follow that law. Your marriage needed to be witnessed by a priest or deacon or you needed a dispensation from that requirement. You didn’t do that so it should be just a matter of paperwork to document that. Your pastor can help you.

Welcome home!

Yes, my husband’s annulment was free for him, because his income was low, but if you need an annulment its $500-$1000 max. And its a real bargain for what you get, several well-trained well-educated faithful Catholics reviewing your case. No one is getting rich on doing annulments!

Thank you all so much for your help!!
I am going to arrange a meeting with the Pastor, who will likely recommend that I attend the class for returning Catholics - part of the Faith Formation department.
Yes, my previous (only) marriage was not a conventional one and I have no documentation of it so I suppose there is nothing to be annulled. Perhaps this is what my colleague was referring to in regards to a monetary fee, I’m not sure. They may well have been exaggerating out of spite or lack of knowledge.

This is so important to me and I can’t thank you all enough. As I continue to learn I hope that I can eventually be as helpful to others. May God Bless you and Peace be with you!
:slight_smile:

And, unless there is more to the story, then as the OP has presented it, this is simply a matter of a documentary case, not a ‘full-blown’ (ahem :rolleyes:) nullity. So, it will be far less than $500, and far less time than a ‘typical’ nullity.

katiesonlyson: talk to the pastor of the parish you’d like to join. He’ll get you set on the right path! Welcome home!

You need to go to your local parish and see the priest (make appt to meet with him), he will be able to walk you through whatever is necessary. Welcome home.

Also, if i am not mistaken (someone correct me if i am wrong please) you dont need an annulment unless you plan on remarrying.

I’m sorry you’ve been given such bad information. Whether it was intentional or not, it happens, and often keeps people away from the Church because they think it will be impossible.

So that you don’t waste anymore time with misinformation, I would advise that you first make an appointment with the priest at your parish, not just “show up” for confession, since you will probably need assistance preparing to make a good confession, and help during confession so you won’t feel fearful or anxious. The priest will be happy to help you, and at the end you will have a pristine soul, absolved of all sin, and ready to receive the Holy Eucharist worthily. Confirmation and participating in classes can be decided between you and the priest when you speak with him.

You will know such joy and peace. Please don’t delay.

Welcome home. :slight_smile:

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