Considering becoming a Catholic - at University next month

Hello there, I’ve been browsing this forum for a couple of months but only just plucked up the courage to dive in and ask a few questions.

Note: I’m British and this is probably a UK-specific question.

I’m starting University at the end of September and I’ve decided I’m going to be attending Mass at the University Chaplaincy. I’ve decided I want to convert to Catholicism because of studying, prayer and other reasons.

For a bit of background, I’ve been studying philosophy/religion at sixth form college for the past two years and I’m very interested in religion. I’ve been reading widely on philosophy and religion and I found that the Catholic Church’s teachings and views really spoke to me and made a lot of sense. I was a member of the Christian Union, led by a tutor who was Catholic, and found that the most religious people were all Catholics. I took part in a trip to Rome earlier this year, visiting the Vatican (shortly after Pope Benedict’s resignation!!). I can’t entirely explain how much this trip affected me, but it made me more and more interested in the Catholic Church.

I am a baptised Christian (C of E) and have attended a Methodist Church for many years. I have become more active in recent years and actually became a Member last year (nowhere near as formal as being confirmed - membership is renewed every year). However, I’ve been very dissatisfied with the ‘contemporary’ worship at this Church. I didn’t feel nearly as at home as I did at my local Catholic Church, where it is more solemn .

However I’ve only attended mass three times so far. I realise that isn’t a lot. I attended once at my local church, once with a family friend, and again at my local church. I felt more at ease the last time and more confident with the responses and the liturgy. I intend to attend mass next week and hopefully a few more times. I’m fitting this around attending my local Methodist Church, which is why I haven’t attended a mass much as I probably should.

My concerns are this: I’m starting university and hoping to get involved with the CathSoc (Catholic Society). If I express a desire to become a Catholic will I be required to attend a full RCIA course (I’m not sure how it works in Britain), even though I’m a Christian? I start university in October, so will it be too late to begin RCIA? I really, really hope I don’t have to wait an entire year.
More concerning is the thought that the university priest will not think I know enough about the Church since I will have only attended mass half a dozen times. :frowning:

Does anybody know whether I will be able to convert to Catholicism at university? Will I need to attend mass for a whole year before I can convert? I’m not in a huge hurry to convert, since I understand it’s a big decision . I am looking forward to attending the mass more.

Should I contact the priest at my university via email expressing my interest, or should I wait until I get there?

I just really want advice from other British Catholics. Sorry for being long-winded! :blush:

Technically speaking, no you shouldn’t have to go through RCIA. IIRC, RCIA is supposed to be for catechumens, not candidates. That said, I know that at least across the pond, over here in America, a lot of parishes still have the candidates go through the same RCIA process as the catechumens.

Ultimately every diocese is different. Ask the priest and explain the situation and I am sure they will work something out. RCIA formal is not a requirement, many people do like 6 or 10 private classes with a priest to make sure they know the faith at least a t a basic level.

In my parish they take RCIA very serious and all the Catechumens and Candidates go through it. It is a very well built and solid program for good faith formation. Even the current Faith Formation Director who became Catholic like 4 years ago went through the process even though he was raised protestant missionary family, went to a Bible College and got a degree and became a youth pastor in an Anglican Church.

He did tremendous study before converting and could have taught the RCIA class, but the priest felt that RCIA is not just about learning the theology, it is about learning to be Catholic. So the time spent slowly walking into the Catholic Culture, meeting people in the parish, learning prayers and other things, is a worthwhile experience for everyone.

I can almost guarantee that the Catholic Center at the University has something set up since the University is a ripe place for conversions of all kinds.

God Bless!

Welcome to the forum and I applaud your decision as there is no doubt that you have been drawn to the fullness of truth.

While it is good that you attend Mass (without taking communion, at this point), it is not the number of Masses that you have attended that really matters. It is the understanding of the faith to which you desire to belong. I recommend that you do attend RCIA classes just for the education, even if it is not necessary. You need to understand the sacraments and should have some education especially on the Eucharist.

In any regard, please keep us posted as to your progress. Converts are my favorite people. They have actually thought about it and made a decision and usually end up knowing more about the Church than your average cradle catholic

Once again, welcome, and God bless.


I found this website online about the RCIA network of England

These are questions that can best be answered by the Pastor of the parish where you live, or else the Pastor of the University parish, if that’s a different parish.

It will help you grow immensely in humility and obedience to follow whatever the process is that they have, without asking for special favours, even if it’s not as fast as you would like.

Easter is really not a whole year away, and the time spent in Inquiry classes or RCIA classes goes by very quickly.

Welcome to the journey of a lifetime. :slight_smile:

Personally I would try and write a note or E-mail to the Catholic Priest at the University and ask him all of the above, so he will have all the answers for you before you start University, so he will know to expect you and what your thoughts are. Better still would be maybe to ring him and make an appointment to see him, just tell him your thinking of becoming Catholic and you want to discuss the ins and outs of it, and you would like an appointment to see him before University starts.

Let us know how you get on ( Being a Convert myself from the Jewish Religion) and what is happening on your Damascus Road.

I would recommend that you read the “Church Fathers” any of them plus Catholicism for Dummies, it gets to the nitty gritty.

Catholicism is pre denominational.
We are the Originals.

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