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.
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!