Can my children participate in RCIA with me?

Hello, I was never baptized in any religion but over the past several years have learned about the catholic faith and have felt drawn to become Catholic. I will attending RCIA starting next week.

I have children who are over the age of seven who I was hoping would be able to enter the church at the same time as me.

Upon asking about a modified RCIA for my children I was told I would need to enter the church first and then we could discuss having my children baptized/attend RCIA.

Is this the normal process? I was under the impression the could join the church with me.

FYI my husband is also unbaptized and will not be joing our RCIA class but is fine with myself and the children taking part.

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Have you had a sit down with your pastor? He will help you sort things out.

Kids under the age of reason can be baptized and kids over the age of reason can be instructed and baptized/confirmed/1st Communion the same way you will be! It is beautiful to see children come in with their parents.


Upon asking who? There’s nothing I’m aware of in the Church law that would require this, but your pastor’s prudential judgement should be the guiding factor.

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The normal way for your children to be baptized and come into the Catholic Church is for them to attend Religious Education through your parish. Contact the Director of Religious Education (call the parish office) and he/she will guide you one the correct path. Children do not go to RCIA which is Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. The DRE will be able to help you with this.

While it is never a bad thing to speak to a priest, in most parishes there are staff who can fully inform you on the necessities of how to accomplish whatever you may need. I work in my parish as the DYM and if someone came to one of our priests with questions on youth ministry they would just refer that person back to me. Same with our DRE.

Our parish does families including children in RCIA programs.

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I would talk to your priest about it. At my parish, we do everything we can for families to receive the sacraments together if that is their wish (as it’s such a beautiful thing!). But it’s ultimately up to the pastor.

As has been said RCIA is geared towards adults. This means the presentation of material may be harder for younger children to grasp. And certain subjects (such as Marriage and Catholic Morality) are also not generally presented in a way that would be age appropriate for children.

At my parish. we sometimes have high school age children in RCIA, but younger children would generally be put in the regular CCD/faith formation/whatever-your-parish-may-call-it for children. But even then, we would still have them receive their sacraments together with their parents at the Easter Vigil.

The person I asked is the pastoral associate who is coordinating the RCIA class.

The church in my town does have first confession/first communion classes, but registration for those is closed for the year, our RCIA program date was set very late.

I understand the full RCIA program is likely at a level above what children can understand well, but many churches in neighboring areas have a modified RCIA for children over the age of reason.

I was under the impression, I suppose incorrectly, that because my children are over the age of reason they would have some sort of class or instruction and then could receive all of the sacraments at the Easter vigil with me.

Please speak directly with the preist. Be honest about your situation and expect him to explain what and why the policy is in your parish and how it applies to you personally. Just schedule a meeting with him. Too many times for whatever reason people are turned away or off by a well meaning but unempowered parish ministry person.

That’s not necessarily an incorrect impression. Some parishes do have that. It’s just not the same at every parish and in every area.

You should play it safe and go ask your priest

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I’m not really sure what to do. I have contacted the priest a little more than a week ago and have not heard back from him at all. I completely understand priests are very busy, is this normal to have it take so long to hear anything back?

The parish website says that RCIA is for anyone wanting to become catholic who is 7 or older, but the Pastoral Associate says my children need to wait, and the priest isn’t responding.

How long should I wait before attempting to contact him again? I don’t want to seem pushy at all.

If it’s been a week, I wouldn’t feel bad emailing him again.

After working with priests, I know some of them get a lot of email. So it gets easy for an email to drop to the bottom of the Inbox. Sending a reminder can be helpful. At least that’s what my pastor told me.

Thanks for responding, I did email a second time and have still heard nothing back and have actually decided to not pursue becoming Catholic right now.

This isn’t the first time there has been no communication. I had originally called about RCIA last year and heard nothing back, and then had to contact the church repeatedly this year to find out if they were going ahead with a program.

I understand that everyone is busy, and I don’t mind the time and effort RCIA takes, but I kind of expect them to be a little more helpful. RCIA is apparently to teach me about the faith and integrate me into the parish community but they can’t even email back. It has been very discouraging, and I wonder if they ever would have made any effort.

I kind of get the feeling that because they have such a large parish they aren’t exactly concerned with new members joining. Unfortunately it is the only Catholic Church close enough for me to get to.

I’m pretty sad about it as I really believe what the church teaches and had really wanted to join, but I can’t see subjecting myself to months of feeling like a nuisance. Perhaps in the future.

Anyways, thanks again for your replies.


I’m sorry that happened to you, but why would you deprive yourself of the fullness of the faith and the Sacraments? I understand why you are feeling as you are, but sometimes circumstances have arisen that we are unaware. There will always be obstacles that we have to overcome on our faith journey. Is there another phone number or email address that you could try?

I met someone at a Veteran’s Day ceremony who worked in the hospital in Germany where I had our daughter when my husband was in the Air Force many years ago. When she mentioned that she worked there and we discovered that it was at the same time, she chuckled and joked, “I’m glad to see you survived.” All these years I had thought the care was a little sub par. Well, yesterday I learned that her little group cared for 67 patients at one time. My perspective shifted to realize that the care I received was actually pretty heroic. We never know what is going on behind the scenes.

I am sincerely sorry that you haven’t been given the welcome and follow through that you deserve. Please reconsider. I’m on the RCIA teaching team at our parish. I know your kids would be welcome at our class and that it’s not too late to join, but each parish is unique. I don’t know this parish’s’ circumstance. For instance, in our Archdiocese, any volunteer that works with children must be certified as having gone through an abuse prevention safety class. That isn’t often anticipated with volunteering for RCIA. Many parishes have a preference for the children attending with their age group.

I will say my rosary for you today. I hope you reconsider. You may have to be just a little more tenacious in your approach with reaching someone who can help you.

It’s too late, we were supposed to confirm whether we would be attending tonight or not and I said I would not be able to go through with it at this time.

I have very bad social anxiety, in fact it has prevented me from inquiring about RCIA for quite some time. I finally pushed myself to contact them and I’m feeling pretty discouraged now.

I don’t need someone to constantly hold my hand, but I know I won’t make it through if I constantly feel like a bother.

Thank you so much for responding though.

I’ve been a member of our parish RCIA team since 1995. Last Monday, I had major surgery, so I won’t be able to participate for quite a while. I’d be happy to hold your hand [figuratively] as much as necessary, and you can believe me when I say you won’t be a bother.
You have been called to the Church, and recognized the call. I’m sure the RCIA team at your parish will be more than happy to help you on your journey of faith, and so will I.

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Well, I will still say my rosary for you now. May God’s grace and peace be with you and help you to overcome your anxiety. I know RCIA would be of great benefit to you. The Catholic Church is the only place that you will find the fullness of the faith and receive the Sacraments. I do understand social anxiety. But this is so important! Believe me, I would never have imagined that I would be in a place where I would be helping teach class. God asks us to step out of our comfort zones to love and serve him, doesn’t he? Of course, no one is going to coerce you to come. They will take you at your word if you say that you don’t want to come. I won’t say anything further. God bless.

I’m so sorry to hear about that. It reminds me of a friend who had similar difficulty when he and his family were looking to convert. He actually had two priests try to convince him that he didn’t need to bother converting before he finally found a priest and parish that was happy to welcome him into the fold.

It shouldn’t be like that, but unfortunately it happens from time to time. I will remember you in prayer. Draw close to Christ in this time of adversity.

Thank you so much everyone for the kind words and encouragement.

I would up going to the first RCIA meeting tonight after all. I just decided to try and persevere.

I did briefly speak with the priest and he said he would likely want me to be fully received into the church before any of my children could be. I am a bit disappointed if this is the case because it means my oldest two will have to wait until Easter 2021 to be received as they would do an RCIC program. But not doing the RCIA program at all won’t make them Catholic any quicker.

Thank you again.



I am glad to hear that you are moving forward in whatever way you can. Sometimes the way forward doesn’t look quite the way we had envisioned it, but it can still be a great opportunity for grace.

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