Does it matter where I enroll in RCIA classes?

Hi everyone!

I am wanting to convert to the Catholic faith and I am eager to get started. My question is this:

I already know that the TLM is the one I will be attending. It is 120 miles round trip, which I am grateful to be able to make every Sunday. In the meantime, however, it would be more practical to take RCIA classes closer to home, which at a church which is Novus Ordo.

Does that matter? Is the RCIA process different from a traditional church? Is the confirmation process different?

Thank you!

Yes, you must enroll in a RCIA program with qualified instructors approved by the Vatican.

CK, the process isn’t different from parish to parish, but the way the instruction is given - i.e., the excellence of content and the orthodoxy of the instructors - may differ widely. Is there someone you know who has gone through RCIA in the parish closest to you? If not, you might be able to discern the quality of instruction from the reverent manner in which the Mass is offered there. Also, if your diocese has a reputation for orthodoxy then each parish should be pretty “safe”. God’s speed! And welcome to CAF! :slight_smile:

Check with your closest parish. That’s most likely the territorial parish you belong to and should be the one to serve you.

I don’t know if you’re a pre-catechumen (unbaptized) or pre-candidate (already baptized). If you are seeking baptism you will need to attend Mass at the church where you are enrolled in RCIA since dismissals of the catechumens are part of the RCIA process.

If you are already baptized you will need to find out the expectations of the RCIA director regarding Mass attendance. For example, I would tell you that attending Mass with the parish community is a key part of RCIA; you can’t become part of the community without worshipping with the community.

Those things being said, depending on how important it is to you to attend a Latin Mass, you may be better off starting RCIA in the more distant parish. That could mean going there a second day of the week for your classes.

The Vatican does not approve or certify RCIA instructors.

Excerpt from the CCC.

1232 The Second Vatican Council restored for the Latin Church "the catechumenate for adults begins with their entry in to the catechumenate for adults, comprising several distinct steps. " (34) (RCIA) (35) The The Council also gives permission that: in mission countries, in addition to what is what is furnished by the Christian tradition by the Christian tradition, those elements of initiation rites may be admitted which are already in use among insofar as they can be adapted to the Christian ritual.

The RCIA is intended to integrate the catechumen or candidate into parish life as well as instruct him in the basics of the Faith. Thus it is best to attend the RCIA in the parish you will be ultimately a member of. However, due to schedules etc this is not always possible; so you do what you can.

My experience is: you’re better off seeing your traditional latin Mass parish Priest and asking him for instruction. Even if that means reading the material he gives you on your own outside of a classroom setting.

Welcome home [soon anyway] :slight_smile:

God Bless you and we’ll keep you in our prayers tonight!

Wesley, that quote doesn’t establish that all RCIA instructors must be approved directly by Rome; it merely acknowledges that the Church has instituted a catechumenate program and that “elements” of initiation present in missionary territories may be adapted for use in the Christian ritual if they are suitable for such inclusion. Would that it would be so that each instructor be approved at least by the local bishop!

Copycat, it matters in that in some parishes, you will get training in the whole Catholic faith, whereas in others, you will be taught, well, all of parts of the faith. It will take some fortitude on your part, but allow me to suggest that you gently put your proposed instructor to a sort of litmus test proposed a few years ago by Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., the founder of the Ignatius Press publishing house. Fr. Fessio was mainly talking about candidates for positions of authority in seminaries and others in charge of the spiritual formation of others, but it applies equally well here. Fr. Fessio proposed:

"No one shall be given a position of authority in the Church, including admission to sacred orders, religious vows, appointment as a superior, or director of formations, who does not willingly accept and publicly defend the following three items from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  • Number 1577: ‘Only a baptized man (vir) can validly receive sacred orders. For this reason the ordination of women is impossible’

  • Number 2357: ‘Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, the Church has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and under no circumstances can they be approved.’

  • Number 2366: ‘The church teaches that each and every marriage act be ordered per se to procreation of human life.’ Humanae Vitae is the truth, and artificial contraception is an intrinsic evil.]

“No one shall remain in authority in the Church who does not promptly employ all the means at his disposal to ensure that those under his authority accept and defend these propositions.”

“These are the controversial issues of our time,” said Father Fessio, “the issues that arouse the opposition, but which the majority of theologians in this country do not accept to be true. … How are we going overcome this crisis of truth if we continue to allow people who do not accept the Church’s teachings on these central issues to continue to represent the Church?”

Fr. Fessio added, “You can ask any priest or bishop about three items in the Catechism and if they wholeheartedly support and defend those paragraphs, it’s very unlikely they dissent from Church teaching on anything else.” For the full context in which these remarks were made, go to:

The point is, loyalty to the Magisterium varies from place to place, so choose carefully. God bless you!

I am a convert and all of the discussions can be a bit overwhelming. Since you will be attending the TLM, I would speak with the priest at that parish.

As stated by others, RCIA is intended to integrate you into the life of the particular parish as well as into the church so you would be expected to be a part of that parish and attend that their masses. To avoid that pushme-pullme dichotomy I would see if you can go through an RCIA process at the TLM parish. If that is not possible for some reason then you might look for a parish in your diocese that is NO but solid. They do exist, I belonged to one in Ohio.

Priests at TLM parishes are usually more than willing to instruct converts in the Faith and I would advise you to speak with the priest at the TLM you are attending about converting. Although the program is not called “RCIA” in the old rite, and you might meet after the Sunday Mass or something otherwise convenient for you and the priest. They also can assign someone closer to you to teach you the Faith if that works better.
Anyways, please, please ask the TLM priest about it.

As for differences in the procedure for accepting converts, there are definately some differences. There isn’t a set schedule in the old rite and you can basically learn at your own pace and as fast or as slow as you need to. You can also be received into the Church at anytime during the church year, although sometimes converts are received, especially if they are to be baptized, during the Easter Vigil, like the RCIA program does. Also, in the old rite, you will definately be confirmed by a bishop, as soon as opportunity allows. The profession of faith is also a lot longer in the old rite and you are tested more strictly about the Faith before converting.

I want to sincerely thank everyone who took the time to answer my question! I have been reading so much and it is a bit overwhelming.

The suggestion to speak with the priest at the church I will ultimately be attending does indeed make the most sense. I called the church yesterday and ended up speaking with one of the priests who informed me that there is no RCIA course at the church (as the above person correctly mentioned), but that he would be happy to meet with me face to face weekly or however often I wished and he would personally instruct/guide me. I am meeting with him tomorrow and am very excited! I actually like this idea better than the idea of RCIA classes.

Thanks again!

Excellent!:thumbsup: I will keep you in my prayers.

This is just an update on my own 2 year old thread… it’s been a long time coming, but I AM CATHOLIC!!! I was baptized yesterday and I am beyond overjoyed. Words just cannot express my happiness. I rarely post, but I read like a fiend! I just thought I’d share!

God Bless!

Wonderful news, Julie! Welcome home!

I don’t know how that quote from the CCC relates to the OP’s question.


Deo gratias! That is wonderful news. Welcome home.

Mary Frances

This is interesting.

I am currently discerning which parish I want to attend on a regular basis. One of them has a very reverent OF as well as an early TLM. I like the Pastor, the music is great, the church is beautiful. They have an excellent RCIA program.

The other one seems to be more traditional and focused on the old rites. They have a daily 6 PM TLM and a 10AM Sunday TLM. They also have OF masses. They do processions and have all night vigils. They also have a coffee hour. Yes!

The folks are very traditional, which I like. I am feeling more drawn to this Church lately because of the prayerful spirit of the people. I once heard a Priest state during a homily that “we pray that the church will return to its old traditions”.

That more traditional church doesn’t seem to have an RCIA program. I suspect, it would more be a situation of one-on-one “training”. So I’m not sure what to do.


LOL, I didn’t realize this was a 2-year old thread when I responded to it in the other post.

In the traditional times there was no RCIA, only the rule that new converts shall be instructed about the Catholic Faith and shall make the Tridentine confession. They received a few informal instruction from the priest.

The RCIA was introduced is 1975, as the way to provide instruction to the newly baptized adults, and later extended to instruct the converts too. Some traditional churches have RCIA some do not.

In your case I would talk to the priest at the Church where you attend Masses (supposed theu are in full communion with Rome), and would listen what he says. Legally you are allowed to enroll into RCIA in any parish with full communion if the Church, or receive the instructions without RCIA

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