From candidate to catechumen to elect LONG


#1

I feel a little strange about this, but I guess I would like reassurance that I am on the right track. When I started I was looking for proof of my protestant baptism, which I and my sister remember, but no one else. I found an infant enrollment into the Methodist church, which I feel like in retrospect I badgered (gently) my mom into agreeing was a baptism and signing an affidavit of baptism.I have contacted every church where I have been a member and none of them have a record of my baptism. I felt like I was essentially lying my way into the church. I told my rcia director that mom said I was dedicated and not baptized. Boom I am a catechumen. After Sunday I am an elect. My weirdness is that I am worried now about not confessing my 40 plus years of sin, which I was worried about doing before. My rcia director says being baptized into the Catholic church washes away my sins. I have prayed for forgiveness, many times, and though I was worried about confession I was looking forward to getting rid of a heavy burden of sin. Anyone have any words of wisdom for me?


#2

I feel a little strange about this, but I guess I would like reassurance that I am on the right track. When I started I was looking for proof of my protestant baptism, which I and my sister remember, but no one else. I found an infant enrollment into the Methodist church, which I feel like in retrospect I badgered (gently) my mom into agreeing was a baptism and signing an affidavit of baptism.I have contacted every church where I have been a member and none of them have a record of my baptism. I felt like I was essentially lying my way into the church. I told my rcia director that mom said I was dedicated and not baptized. Boom I am a catechumen. After Sunday I am an elect. My weirdness is that I am worried now about not confessing my 40 plus years of sin, which I was worried about doing before. My rcia director says being baptized into the Catholic church washes away my sins. I have prayed for forgiveness, many times, and though I was worried about confession I was looking forward to getting rid of a heavy burden of sin. Anyone have any words of wisdom for me?


#3

I feel your pain! I was raised Methodist and baptized as an infant. No records kept at the 140 year old Methodist church that I grew up in. They were able to pull a bulletin announcing my baptism, that was it.

Do not worry! What you need is a conditional Baptism. It is very normal! The priest basically says “In case you were never baptized, I baptize you in the…” You would also need a conditional confession. Basically, you are covered no matter if you were baptized or not. I would speak to the Priest and tell him you want a conditional baptism and confession because you aren’t sure.


#4

Since you were never baptized, your baptism will wipe away all sin and give you a clean start. First, accept that this will happen and there will be great rejoicing in Heaven that you have found your way home. Your sins are gone. Rejoice in God’s love.

After you have been received into the Church, speak to your pastor about making an appointment for your first confession. Explain to him that you know your past sins were forgiven at Baptism but you would like to make a general confession because although forgiven, these sins weigh on your heart. I think your pastor will be receptive to this.

And by the way, welcome home, He has been expectantly waiting for you…


#5

Umm… ok; let’s break this down.

You distinctly recall a baptism according to the Trinitarian formula (“I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”), and your sister agrees that you were baptized in this way? Also, your Mom says that this recollection of yours is of a ‘dedication’ but not a ‘baptism’? Or is it that she’s thinking of some other event, separate of your & your sister’s recollection of your baptism?

Do you remember where and when this baptism took place? Does this church have any record of the baptism? In what denomination did this take place?

OK… now, then… what’s the ‘weirdness’ that you’re talking about? Are you anxious that your handling of the question of your baptism is sinful? Or, are you worried that you were actually baptized, but aren’t going to go to confession prior to your confirmation? (That wouldn’t quite make sense – after all, you’re going to be baptized at Easter Vigil, right? Your RCIA director is correct, after all: baptism brings with it the forgiveness of all sin!)

So… I’m not really sure what the source of your anxiety is. Is it that you think that you shouldn’t be being baptized? Is it that you’re worried that your upcoming baptism won’t be valid? Is it that you’re worried that your upcoming baptism, although valid, won’t wipe away sin? :shrug:


#6

I think you are doing the right thing being a catechumen/elect and being baptized. If there is any doubt at all you should be baptized. It is an essential part of our faith.

Baptism will wash you clean of all of your past sins. They are forgiven and you are made new in baptism. How Refreshing!

That said, after you are baptized if you still feel burdened by your past sins, go ahead and talk to a priest about it. Either go to confession and tell him of your sins that are burdening you and that they were before your baptism, and let him give you the relief you need from your burden.

The priests are there for you either in a counseling session or the confessional or both.

God Bless!


#7

If there is some question as to whether you were validly baptized or not – and it sounds like there is – conditional baptism can be given. Talk with your pastor about this. And do it soon! Easter is quickly approaching.


#8

My mom’s recollection is of an infant dedication in the Methodist church. My sister and I remember a baptism in the Southern Baptist church when I was in Grade school, but I contacted them and they have no record of it. No one has any record of it, so provisional baptism it is. I just have to get in line with the fact that my first baptism does not count in the Catholic church because it is not verifiable, and accept that baptism into the Catholic church will wipe away my sins .Overall I am happy to know that one way or another my sins will be forgiven and I will be a new creation in Christ. Thank you for your responses.


#9

Thank you all for your kind responses. I do feel like I am on the right path, just needed to adjust my thinking a little.:slight_smile:


#10

If you are truly baptized, and actually remember being baptized, then you should not be baptized again. You can only be baptized once. But, since memories are so fuzzy, what you should talk to your pastor about is a conditional baptism of the form “if you are not already baptized, I baptize you…” This is done a lot for those entering the Church who are in doubt about whether or not they were baptized but who are not certain.

You would also go to confession and confess your sins since if you are baptized the conditional baptism does not wash away anything.

Talk to your pastor about conditional baptism and confession.


#11

Just to be clear, there will be only one baptism. The whole idea of a conditional baptism is that IF you were not baptized, then you will be. In fact, that’s part of what the priest will say as he does the conditional baptism: “If you are not baptized, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” And if you were already baptized, then this has no effect. So either way, you are baptized only once.

Here’s a question from the Ask an Apologist forum that also deals with conditional baptism: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=864022


#12

Talk to your pastor. Ask for a conditional Baptism. Since Baptism is necessary for all other sacraments, and it can sometimes be difficult to determine whether or not one has already been baptized (like it is in your case), the Church can perform a Conditional Baptism.
A Conditional Baptism is not re-Baptizing someone, but it is a Baptism in case the person was not Baptized in the first place. The priest will literally use the formula “If you have not already been Baptized, I Baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

This may be your best option.


#13

Are you concerned that if you have already been baptized, you would still have sins to confess before entering the Catholic Church?

If that is the issue, I would discuss it with the priest. He may suggest Confession between your (conditional) Baptism and receiving the Eucharist, but I don’t think the need for Confession would invalidate your entrance into the Church–even if you are being Confirmed at that time.

Someone please correct me if I’m wrong. :slight_smile:


#14

Confession at that point would be the norm.


#15

SuscipeMeDomine,

Thanks! I thought it was, but wasn’t certain.

I was also a bit confused about whether the OP was actually having a conditional Baptism, or whether it was assumed that this would be her first valid Baptism.

:slight_smile:


#16

That’s going to be a matter for the pastor to decide. I can tell you what the procedure for a conditional baptism is, but I’m not the one to judge whether one is needed in a particular situation. As I think about it, I think I’m just as happy that it’s not my responsibility. :slight_smile:


#17

=SuzanneD;11788387]I feel a little strange about this, but I guess I would like reassurance that I am on the right track. When I started I was looking for proof of my protestant baptism, which I and my sister remember, but no one else. I found an infant enrollment into the Methodist church, which I feel like in retrospect I badgered (gently) my mom into agreeing was a baptism and signing an affidavit of baptism.I have contacted every church where I have been a member and none of them have a record of my baptism. I felt like I was essentially lying my way into the church. I told my rcia director that mom said I was dedicated and not baptized. Boom I am a catechumen. After Sunday I am an elect. My weirdness is that I am worried now about not confessing my 40 plus years of sin, which I was worried about doing before. My rcia director says being baptized into the Catholic church washes away my sins. I have prayed for forgiveness, many times, and though I was worried about confession I was looking forward to getting rid of a heavy burden of sin. Anyone have any words of wisdom for me?

Several points for your knowledge and mental and Spiritual well-being

  1. Talk to your priest about this not just the RCIA team.

  2. If there is a doubt then a “CONDITIONAL Baptism” is given. This means the the effects of Baptism are valid ONLY if you have not been baptized with a Christian Baptism [water and the Holy Spirit] already. So either way you’re covered.

  3. I am quite sure this was either NOT a sin and certainly NOT a mortal sin.

  4. IF you’re scheduled to be Baptized; then don’t worry at all

Some of the effects of Sacramental Baptism are the remission of ALL past sins AND even the lingering effects that sin cause. In a WORD: Baptized are made literally Perfect until one sins again. Baptism also makes you a member of God’s personal family and a full fledged Roman Catholic too.:thumbsup:

God Bless you, and welcome home
Patrick


#18

My priest is out of town, so I spoke with a different priest at a different church. While he did tell me that I needed to talk to my pastor, who is my shepherd, he did have a calming effect on me. He told me to explain to my priest in bullet points what my situation is, and that he would guide me in the correct actions needed. He also told me that God is calling me to his church and that He loves me very much.He said the sacraments are important, but not to worry,because my priest will help me figure it out, and he prayed with me. :thumbsup:I feel much better now.


#19

=SuzanneD;11794308]My priest is out of town, so I spoke with a different priest at a different church. While he did tell me that I needed to talk to my pastor, who is my shepherd, he did have a calming effect on me. He told me to explain to my priest in bullet points what my situation is, and that he would guide me in the correct actions needed. He also told me that God is calling me to his church and that He loves me very much.He said the sacraments are important, but not to worry,because my priest will help me figure it out, and he prayed with me. :thumbsup:I feel much better now.

WAY TO GO SUZZY and GOD!:thumbsup:


#20

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