Finding a church that will baptize


#1

I do not belong to a church but I want to get baptized badly and the Lord is making it obvious that it’s something I need to do and I do not wish to ignore Him!

How do I go about finding someone that will baptize me? I’ve been attending Mass and I wish to sign up for RCIA but baptism would be next year. I feel like it can’t wait. I need to do it soon.
I’m going to call some local churches tomorrow but a lot of churches seem so exclusive. I feel like a protestant church might refuse to baptize me if I voice intentions (or possibility) of joining the Catholic church and there’s no way I’d be deceitful.
I could ask my DH’s family’s pastor to do it but I’m not comfortable with him or getting baptized in front of that congregation. I can’t explain it. I’m not even sure he would do it but then I haven’t asked.
A family friend who is ordained politely declined. :frowning:

Will you pray for courage for me?


#2

Also, I’ve spoken to the priest where I attend Mass and he urged me to get baptized ASAP.


#3

If you have such strong feelings and a wish to join the Church that Christ founded, then show that by being obedient to His Church. Sign up for RCIA, speak with your pastor, and discuss how you are feeling with him. And then relax and have confidence in Jesus and rely on the promise that Christ gave when He promised that the gates of hell will never prevail over her. He purposely instituted His Church to exercise His authority until He returns. So trust in the Church, and enroll yourself in RCIA.


#4

Your priest urged you to get baptised ASAP but apparently was unwilling to expedite matters himself? He certainly meant for you to go through the RCIA process if that is the case, as if he were satisfied that it was really that urgent he could have facilitated matters - for example by offering you private instruction in place of RCIA.

‘As soon as possible’ does not mean the same thing as ‘right this very minute’ nor even ‘this week/month/year’. Especially not to God - who waited thousands of years to fulfil His orimise to send a Messiah and still, 2000 years after promising to return, has not yet done so.

Baptism is a serious commitment, similar to marriage. RCIA is like the period of engagement. Too many marriages fail because the couple rush into things without taking enough time while engaged to get to know each other deeply. Similarly, some converts also have trouble when they feel like they didn’t take time to understand what they were getting themselves into.

Don’t rush - take the advice of these good priests and go through the process.


#5

[quote="LilyM, post:4, topic:311400"]
Your priest urged you to get baptised ASAP but apparently was unwilling to expedite matters himself? He certainly meant for you to go through the RCIA process if that is the case, as if he were satisfied that it was really that urgent he could have facilitated matters - for example by offering you private instruction in place of RCIA.

'As soon as possible' does not mean the same thing as 'right this very minute' nor even 'this week/month/year'. Especially not to God - who waited thousands of years to fulfil His orimise to send a Messiah and still, 2000 years after promising to return, has not yet done so.

Baptism is a serious commitment, similar to marriage. RCIA is like the period of engagement. Too many marriages fail because the couple rush into things without taking enough time while engaged to get to know each other deeply. Similarly, some converts also have trouble when they feel like they didn't take time to understand what they were getting themselves into.

Don't rush - take the advice of these good priests and go through the process.

[/quote]

While I understand what you are saying......34 And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. 36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?”* 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.**** (Acts 8)....the Bible states it can be done pretty quickly.

I too would ask the Priest who suggested it to you. They are often hesitant to be too forward with people in such circumstances. They "open the door" and see if someone walks through.*


#6

Just to add to what others have said, as soon as possible means after RCIA, assuming you want to do it right. You may be interested, however, in the following passage from the CCC:

“1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament.”

Therefore, while going through RCIA means that you won’t actually be baptized immediately, it does mean that should you not make it to that time it won’t be held against you.


#7

Thank you for this.

I do want to sign up for RCIA. It starts in June. I actually have the packet and need to call the faith formation line. I might have misunderstood the priest then. He did say I should get baptized and it didn’t matter where as long as it was in the Trinity formula. He did make it sound like earlier would be better than later.

I even called my mother’s estranged sister to ask if I was baptized as an infant and no dice.

Thank you for the replies. I’ve just been praying so hard for guidance and an open heart. And then I started praying more and how it felt like He was trying to tell me but I wasn’t understanding. Now everywhere I turn is Baptism. It’s screaming at me. I want it so bad.
He’s giving me my answer loud and clear but maybe I need to allow myself to be led to the Baptism instead of jumping in, so to speak.

I hadn’t thought of it that way so thank you so much.


#8

It’s interesting that the priest encouraged you to baptized as soon as you could, but did not volunteer to do it himself. Perhaps, as others have said, what is meant is, you should begin seriously seeking baptism now by means of beginning RCIA, not you need to get baptized today. Of course, if he discerns a sense of urgency for you to receive the Sacrament of Baptism, he might offer you an expedited path to baptism. Why don’t you ask him for clarification?

I, even as a Christian who is not in full communion with the Catholic Church (read Protestant), would tell you that generally people are baptized in the church which they intend to be their community of faith (and place of church membership). It would be irregular (though I’m sure neither a first nor last) to be baptized into a church which you had no intention of joining or participating in. If you want to join the Roman Catholic Church, it would be logical to seek baptism in the Catholic parish where you intend to attend mass every week (and hopefully will find involvement in other church activities such as Bible studies (yes there are Catholic Bible studies), small groups, Knights of Columbus, Rosary making and praying groups, special ministries to the home-bound, imprisoned, ill, etc.).

If you absolutely feel that God is calling you to baptism NOW share this with your priest. See what he says. If baptism isn’t an option at the Catholic parish, PRAY. If you feel that God is calling you to immediate baptism you could ask other Christian clergy to do it, explaining the situation to them. I think the Church of Christ denomination is well known for being “let’s do it right now” people about baptism, though they might not be willing once you tell them you intend to be Catholic. You might try a Disciples of Christ church in your area too. We (Disciples) are (usually) not hostile toward Catholicism and very open to a diversity of beliefs, so if you explain your situation you might find a minister willing to help you there.

Worst case scenario, find someone (very preferably another Christian) and ask them to baptize you themselves (they need not be ordained) with at least two witnesses present who will be willing to sign a statement attesting to the baptism for the Catholic Church. This baptism, or one performed by a Protestant minister, would be considered valid in the Catholic Church as best I understand it, but you should consult your spiritual director to be sure so long as the baptism is performed

  1. With water (not just anointing with oil or something else…I don’t know I’ve never actually heard of anyone baptizing without water…)
  2. Says the words “In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (or something similar, what matters is that all three Members of the Holy Trinity are named and the baptism is said to be performed in Their Name). This is important because some churches say “In the name of Jesus” and don’t name the Father and Holy Spirit, or with some others words. In the eyes of the Catholic Church (and some Protestants) this doesn’t count).
  3. The person baptizing has the same intention as the Catholic Church as when she baptizes. This is why I advised it be another Christian performing the baptism.

The CCC tells us:

1256 The ordinary ministers of Baptism are the bishop and priest and, in the Latin Church, also the deacon. In case of necessity, anyone, even a non-baptized person, with the required intention, can baptize, by using the Trinitarian baptismal formula. The intention required is to will to do what the Church does when she baptizes. The Church finds the reason for this possibility in the universal saving will of God and the necessity of Baptism for salvation.

I would also affirm that if you find yourself in danger of death, Canon law takes a back seat to you receiving the sacraments. I HOPE YOU DO NOT FIND YOURSELF IN SUCH DANGER, but if you do, and there’s some time, the priest should be able to baptize you on the spot (if I understand correctly).

I would also add that from the Catholic perspective the CCC says:

1281 Those who die for the faith, those who are catechumens, and all those who, without knowing of the Church but acting under the inspiration of grace, seek God sincerely and strive to fulfill his will, can be saved even if they have not been baptized (cf. LG 16)

That is to say, according to Catholic teaching, being in RCIA could be “good enough” should you die prior to being baptized (though once again may God not allow such a thing to occur.)

From a Protestant perspective, what matters is your faith. Have you prayed to God and told Him you’re a sinner and want His Son Jesus Christ to be your personal Lord and Savior? For most Protestants (especially Evangelicals) this is the actual moment of salvation, whereas baptism is the outward sign of an inner change and a manifestation of your faith.

So in short, most Protestants and Catholics agree, although baptism is the normal means of entry into the Church of Jesus Christ our Lord- it is not always necessary for salvation should someone with genuine and living faith in Jesus who desires baptism be prevented from receiving it by death. So since you desire to be Catholic, there’s good sense in going through the Catholic Church’s process for adults entering the Church. Talk to your priest, and explain your concerns. You desire to be baptized. This is good, it means you desire God’s forgiveness for your sins and to live with Him forever, and be in communion with His Kingdom on earth, the Church of Christ our Lord. Do what you believe God is calling you to do, but don’t make a rash and impulsive decision. Being baptized outside the Catholic Church will NOT negate your need to learn about the Catholic faith before being received and confirmed.


#9

It would be odd indeed for a priest to give such advice. Not that I’m saying he didn’t, but very odd nonetheless. Baptism is one thing, but the main aim is for you to be part of the Catholic church, and RCIA would still be required for that. Going through a non-Catholic baptism seems to me to be too much like agreeing to marry any old body who asks just for the sake of having a ring on your finger.

I’m sure most denominations as part of their baptism procedure would require some sort of preparation, as well as some sort of acknowledgement from you that you will abide by the teachings of that denomination, which is also something to think about.


#10

Yes. Although I personally did not have to go through what’s often called “Pastor’s Class” because there was not one going on when I made the decision to be baptized as a child growing up in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) denomination. So…maybe or maybe not, it depends on the denomination how much formal preparation is required prior to being baptized.

as well as some sort of acknowledgement from you that you will abide by the teachings of that denomination, which is also something to think about.

It probably depends on the denomination. Some denominations (like the Episcopal Church) will require you to affirm a creed or two (these would be ancient creeds also accepted by Catholics, although the exact wording might be different than what the Catholic Church uses in the new revised Roman liturgy), or in other churches that you affirm their teachings and/or elements of classical Protestant theology (such as salvation by grace alone through faith alone). If you do end up getting baptized outside the Catholic Church, check into this, and don’t lie. Don’t agree to believe in something you have no intention of actually accepting.


#11

I had to wait for RCIA to start and then the year it took to go through the program too. The wait was hard, but very worth it.

Getting baptized and confirmed at the Easter Vigil was the highlight of my life. It was beautiful and powerful and I was so glad I had prepared.

Since you desire to be baptized, you're in a textbook case for baptism by desire. So there's no need to worry.


#12

No, I think you all might be right. He knows how it works and I’m impatient and get ahead of myself sometimes. I’m going to call to sign up for the RCIA classes today.

Thank you so much for your replies. I can understand that a baptism for the sake of it would seem rash. I’ll fully wanting to give myself to to Him. Baptism is something I’ve felt the need to do for months but now it’s in my face lol.
I’m going to e-mail the priest today. I very much enjoyed talking with him.

I thought God was calling for me to get baptized but maybe He wants to lead me on the path that will get me baptized into His church. Thank you for that perspective.
I don’t think that baptism will suddenly be that I’m aware of Him. He answers my prayers and I do feel His Spirit outside of the church but I don’t want to be a bratty child and ignore Him. :thumbsup:


#13

Also, keep in mind that should something happen to you before you are baptized, that you would receive “Baptism of Desire”. As long as this is your sincere desire you have nothing to fear.


#14

Yes, affirming Steve’s post, yes you are already baptized with the baptism of desire. So please do not give in to the anxiety.

My pastor told us that if a Protestant is already baptized with the correct form, they are already part of the Church, and depending on the individual case, can go to Mass soon with the discretion of the pastor.

As you are not baptized, yes, your great desire is already a form of valid baptism. And yes, posters are correct in saying that it is worth going through the parish because you are entering more through the spirit of the Church – with others. Catholics pop in from time to time with their own questions and to be a support to those wanting to learn more or are in the process. It is a most appropriate experience in learning as well in witnessing how we grow in our faith as Catholics.

Growing in our faith is a lifelong experience. And once we are in heaven with the Lord, it is an eternal experience growing closer to Him with others.


#15

[quote="KathleenGee, post:14, topic:311400"]

My pastor told us that if a Protestant is already baptized with the correct form, they are already part of the Church, and depending on the individual case, can go to Mass soon with the discretion of the pastor.

[/quote]

Out of curiosity, when you say "go to Mass soon" do you mean, be Received and Confirmed and then receive Holy Communion- or are you saying that Protestants shouldn't attend Mass (abstaining from the Eucharist of course) at all without dispensation from the pastor?


#16

Maybe some Pastors frown upon protestants attending Mass? :shrug:

I called Faith Formation and this week's RCIA class is canceled but the lady on the phone encouraged me to start attending now instead of waiting. She said I would just do the "end" classes again before my confirmation.


#17

I’m going to jump in here. No one should receive the Eucharist until they have officially come into the Church. However, the Church would never disuade anyone from coming to Mass and praying with us. Everyone is welcome from that respect.


#18

Matt....

After the age of 18, the bishop, who selects and assigns priests as pastors...which then makes the pastor an ecclesiastic administrator....the pastor can give all sacraments of initiation, including confirmation.

ReadyFreddy should first pray and then ask the Holy Spirit to guide him to a parish that he connects with, doesn't feel any 'walls' or blocks in his spirit. Then make an appointment with the pastor about his great desire to become Catholic, the sooner the better.

Also he should pray not only about which parish to enter....that could be soon any way, but more so for the pastor.

In an act of faith, trust that Christ is working through the pastor's decision whether or not to baptize and give the sacraments....or to wait. The pastor will affirm that ReadyFreddy is already testifying to baptism of desire and not to be anxious.

We Catholics are ecclesial deists, I learning that term from www.calledtocommunion.com, an article written in 2009 entitled, 'Ecclesial Deists'.

What that means is that Christ is so great to us, He was acting as both God and True Man to decide to have His Church founded through the apostles and their successors...vulnerable as people are, rather than founding the Church on the written form of Sacred Scripture. Written text is so vulnerable to misinterpretation by individuals. St. Peter warned us of it. We may have times of corruption, but elsewhere there have been many devout bishops and priests persevering in their faith you don't hear about.

Our focus is not the priest, bishop or Holy Father, but as representatives of Christ who are His ministers. It is Christ working through them. We are not to look on them in themselves. If we do, we will eventually see their own personal failings.

And I have seen many times in my life priests who seem a little off, nevertheless when it is most opportune or in spite of this or that, really coming through in the Lord's ministry, and manifesting Him to us more abundantly. We are to pray and do penance for priest.

So going back, it is important to pray as to which parish to go to, and to pray for the pastor and trust that his answer to you is that of the Lord's and to take it in faith and be patient. Pray for patience.

So many times growing up Catholic, it was always a current discipline not to hurry and to take on step at a time. When there were blocks, it was the Holy Spirit, many times simply not the right time.

And we are more in the Lord as a gathering of people, all connected to one another, including our Holy Father, our bishops, and priests....we together in communion with the Holy Trinity.

The Church is primarily one of faith and entering into the mystery of God. And the clergy know, it seems in their vocation, when to let things ride for awhile, not do anything at the moment, or redirect someone in a better way.


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