Getting baptised

Hi,

I have never been baptised. If I have already taken accredited classes on Catholic theology including classes focused entirely on the Catechism, can I bypass the year long RCIA to be baptised?

I don’t know if you CAN skip RCIA, but I would recommend that you attend.

First of all, RCIA is much more than catechism classes. If that’s all there was to it, then we could just hand everyone a copy of the Catechism and tell them to come back for a test when they had read it.

RCIA involves various rites that allow you to take concrete steps into the Church. It is based in a parish community that prays for you and sustains you as you take these steps. It also involves interior conversion, your relationship with God.

And my guess is that even if you know a lot about the Catechism, you’re going to learn things along the way. I’m one of the catechists in my parish’s program and I think that every single week I come away with an “aha” moment. Often hearing how someone else views things makes me think about them in a new way.

I know that quite often we want to do something NOW. We’re ready so why should we wait? For one thing, becoming Catholic isn’t like an altar call at a Billy Graham Crusade. You don’t rush forward and say “I believe.” It’s a process and it takes time. You have a chance to learn and know what you’re committing yourself to.

Besides, adults are generally baptized at the Easter Vigil. So unless you have a strong reason to be baptized sooner – such as danger of death – you’d normally wait anyway.

Yes, you can, but it depends on your local RCIA program leader and/or priest. Talk to them.
Either way, I’d still recommend you to go through the program. You probably won’t get much out of it theologically, but the going through this process with other people entering the Church will be a great experience.
When I started RCIA, I had spent quite some efforts studying Catholic apologetics and theology, but although theologically I was certainly ready to enter the Church without going through RCIA, I am glad I had that experience. After all, the Catholic faith is a community-oriented faith, and RCIA is a good intro to that.
God bless!

Our RCIA process involves an Easter by-pass for catechumens so it can take 2 years. However we have had people in the process that are in your situation, having gone to Catholic schools, are very knowledgeable in Catholic doctrine, and have been attending mass for years. These folks can be fast tracked and be fully initiated at the upcoming Vigil instead of by-passing the year. We also do not wait until the Vigil for all candidates (those already baptized). We have them make their Profesion of Faith when it is deemed they are ready, no matter what time of year.

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