Conversion & RCIA


#1

Hello, everyone.

I joined this forum some time ago in some distress over issues I am having with the Episcopal Church and its theology and with actions and theology of my priest which I will not go into here in detail, but in short he is trying to force a type of evangelical charismatic influence on our rather high church parish and has stripped art, icons, etc. out of our chapel.

However, I currently have a lack of transportation and I'm in school. I could make it to the Catholic Church most Sundays, but I'm not sure about RCIA. Can the priest take this into account and help me enter the Church in another way if it becomes a problem to attend RCIA from lack of transportation?

I have been drawn to Catholicism for eight years. I have read all the catechism and many books on Catholic theology and some of the works of the saints. My prayer life has been grounded in Catholic practices such as the Rosary for years now. I am more familiar with the faith and prayer practices than most Catholic friends I've had. Could any of this be taken into consideration?

If not, I would respect the practice of the church and simply submit myself spiritually until such time as God shall permit the circumstances for me to be joined to the Church sacramentally. However, I long for the sacraments, especially confession. I am in desperate need to receive them and be healed. The Protestant theology of Anglicanism has been hurtful to my psyche, especially justification by faith through grace alone. Instead of being assured of forgiveness through proper sacramental channels like confession I am left feeling like I have to pray "hard enough" to receive the sacrament, and then I am left wondering, if I am not truly worthy, if I have not received the Body at all, as the Anglican thirty-nine articles say. A Catholic receiving the Body unworthily may be condemned, but at least Jesus is present. In classical Anglican theology, not only am I condemned, but Jesus was not present to me in the sacrament at all. For all my priests' railing about "works righteousness" and "grace" I am left feeling like Protestant theology is a salvation of works and being worthy enough instead of the true grace of Christ.

Pray for me!


#2

I think you will find that the people on RCIA teams are both generous and passionate about what they do. It would not surprise me in the least if they arranged transportation for you if you need it. When we've run into similar situations in my parish we've had more volunteers than we needed.


#3

I would discuss this with the priest. He may be able to help you (it is sometimes done if the priest has the time) or he may need you to take the RCIA program even tho' you're so far ahead. The RCIA program has a plus that individual entry doesn't have as I found out being in much a similar situation with my preparedness (and being an anglo-catholic too). That plus a sense of community with other Catholics. Not easy to have at the very beginning of your journey into the Church otherwise.


#4

Thank you! I will take this into consideration! Such solutions had not even occurred to me as in my experience with Protestantism very little effort is expended for those seeking conversion. I have known someone who was turned away from my own Episcopal parish because the priest only met with her twice to prepare her for baptism and would provide no further pastoral care or support, so the person decided not to be baptized at all. I will talk with the priest about all of these options, but I am glad to know there is still flexibility.


#5

[quote="Merrick, post:4, topic:342452"]
Thank you! I will take this into consideration! Such solutions had not even occurred to me as in my experience with Protestantism very little effort is expended for those seeking conversion. I have known someone who was turned away from my own Episcopal parish because the priest only met with her twice to prepare her for baptism and would provide no further pastoral care or support, so the person decided not to be baptized at all. I will talk with the priest about all of these options, but I am glad to know there is still flexibility.

[/quote]

Be sure to let the priest be aware of the long time you have wanted to be Catholic, and how much you have already studied about the Church.

May the Lord be with you on your journey!


#6

You say you are in school. Does that mean college? If so the majority of universities have campus ministries so there may be a Catholic priest who does regular visits to campus that could help you. Also, there may be a Catholic student group that may have suggestions.

I've lived in heavily urban and Catholic areas my entire life so I keep forgetting that not everybody has a half dozen churches two blocks from their houses.

ChadS


#7

Chad is right. Catholic Campus Ministry/Newman Centers are geared toward students. Things like RCIA sessions work around school breaks and holidays plus it's a great way to meet other Catholic students.


#8

[quote="ChadS, post:6, topic:342452"]
You say you are in school. Does that mean college? If so the majority of universities have campus ministries so there may be a Catholic priest who does regular visits to campus that could help you. Also, there may be a Catholic student group that may have suggestions.

I've lived in heavily urban and Catholic areas my entire life so I keep forgetting that not everybody has a half dozen churches two blocks from their houses.

ChadS

[/quote]

As it turns out, there is an on campus Catholic chapel where I often go to pray and have been to mass there. I checked them out online, and it looks like I could go to RCIA there should the priest think that appropriate in my situation. I think this will be the perfect solution.


#9

[quote="Merrick, post:8, topic:342452"]
As it turns out, there is an on campus Catholic chapel where I often go to pray and have been to mass there. I checked them out online, and it looks like I could go to RCIA there should the priest think that appropriate in my situation. I think this will be the perfect solution.

[/quote]

I think you are on the right track. The campus ministry is there for this exact reason. Besides providing a place for mass to students on campus they are there to assist those questioning or inquiring about the Catholic faith. Rest assured you won't be the first student coming to him looking for RCIA instruction.

It seems that your faith is quite important to you and you want a solid orthodox Catholic RCIA program. That is very commendable, but if perchance the program or priest isn't as orthodox as you'd like or some people in the class with you say or believe things that seem a little off kilter don't let that turn you off to the teachings of the Church. I'd say use those opportunities to learn more about the faith by using solidly Catholic resources. Regardless of your classes come the Easter Vigil or whenever you'd be confirmed you will be just as Catholic as anybody -- even those who go through the most orthodox programs.

When I did RCIA I was lucky in that the team that taught me was fairly orthodox, however most of the materials were on maybe an 8th grade level so I didn't find it terribly challenging. I supplemented my Wednesday evening classes with a lot of extra reading and benefitted from it immensely.

ChadS


#10

Merrick I will keep you in my prayers.
I thank God for the graces that you have received and for the courage and faith with which you welcome God's graces.


#11

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