I'm a Former Salvation Army Soldier who wants to convert to Catholicism


Most of my life I was raised in the Salvation Army. For those that do not know the Salvation Army does not practice any form of Baptism under normal circumstances. So despite being raised to read and learn scriptures and love and trust Christ I am not considered a Christian within the confines of Catholic Theology. I have accepted the truths of how important the sacraments are and am continually studying the Church. I’ve even written an argumentative essay on the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Despite all of this I’m worried. I was looking at my Archdiocese’s website and found it’s information regarding unbaptized people who wish to become Catholic. It seems to presume that all of those who are unbaptized are almost if not completely unknowledgable in regards to the Faith. I don’t want to sound narcisitic in any way I just find this confining in a way and as if I’m being put into a group which doesn’t factor in my spiritual growth. I know I need to be baptized and I’ve yearned for it for a while now but I also want to be baptized in the Catholic Church. I’m not in RCIA yet but according to the information I found I would have to be in it for a full year before even coming close to the sacraments of initiation. After having read works like Scott Hahn’s Rome Sweet Home and Stephen Ray’s Upon This Rock I yearn for the day that I can join the Church. I know I should be patient but I’m worried. I graduate college with an undergrad in May. The only thing I ever saw myself doing was being a pastor. This past year of diving into researching the Faith has shaken everything for me. Can anyone give me a word of advice or insight?

Sorry for the rant


PLEASE speak to a Priest ASAP and start RCIA and COME HOME to the Catholic Church.


Yes. Find the closest Catholic parish to you and contact them.


There’s truth to what you have said, but there’s also much more than meets the eye.

You have a spiritual and Christian background; that’s true, and even though you’re not baptized yet, that won’t be denied by any RCIA program you participate in.

Every parish church handles RCIA differently. Every individual has different requirements. And while the process is technically “RCIA” no matter what the specifics are, the pastor ultimately decides how the process goes for the individual. That’s why speaking to him is an important first step. (Around here, it’s typically 9 months; I went through in 6 weeks. Just an example, but not the “normal” case.)

Even if you go through the full year, there’s a benefit. You aren’t having your past ignored, and no one is intentionally treating you as unaware of basics. There’s a reason for each part of the process - including the waiting!

Reach out to the pastor; be patient. We’ll pray for you. (And ask questions here while you wait.)


Hi Kaji,

I came home to the Church a few years ago in my early 40’s. RCIA is important, and a very exciting period in your faith, and prepares you for this awesome step in your life in Christ.
Let Jesus guide you every step of the way, and He will meet you then also at His altar.
Yes, speak with a priest, and get signed up for RCIA.

Very exciting, Kaji! Praying for you! Welcome home! :slight_smile:


I feel I need to add to this. I first started speaking with a Priest back in December and January. I stopped for a few months before going to Holy Thursday and Good Friday masses. The past month I have been returning to Mass as often as possible. I have already asked about RCIA through the priest in my college town and I emailed my hometown’s priest as well this past week.


Your profile says you are Presbyterian and you were raised Salvation Army. Were you baptised as a Presbyterian?



Oh wow I do need to fix that again. For awhile I was trying to truly despise the Catholic Faith and tried to be presbyterian but it didn’t work out at all. So no I’m still unbaptized


Understood! So do your due diligence in contacting the priest and join RCIA as others have said and you are well on your way.



I’m also in the process of converting right now. You’re on the right path. :grinning:


In exceptional cases a priest may bypass RCIA, but I would not expect it. RCIA can be a great opportunity to meet and relate to new people in a parish, to start to get involved, have faith-sharing discussion, and of course get a brief overview of our faith. I know your anxious to become Catholic, but RCIA can be a nice build up of anticipation into being welcome into the Church at Easter. It’s not entirely unlike how many early converts entered into the Church, so you can share in that history.

I suggest speaking to a priest. He may direct you to contact the director of education for enrollment in RCIA. This is fine. You don’t need to rush. Catholics believe that if anything happens towards those converting that they’re not lost, but that God can baptize extraordinarily apart from the normal signs of the sacrament. This is called baptism of desire.


We are so glad you are educating yourself about the faith and convinced it is the fullness of truth. Joining the church is like getting married, best not to do it after a few weeks or even a few months. While it sounds like you are well on your way to understanding the teachings, there are other changes that occur when you become part of a parish and live the life of a Catholic. It’s okay to move deliberately toward the Eucharistic banquet. I understand the desire to run full-on toward the feast, but the journey will help you appreciate it even more. Use this year of waiting to examine what gifts you can bring. May God bless and keep you. May He shine His light upon you.


Really I always just thought they were like an organization to help poor people. Wasn’t even aware it was actually a church.


They do a lot of good but their denial of sacraments leaves them theologically shallow. It’s like sipping a drop of the truth when you truly want the fullness


I don’t know if that’s strictly true, but even if it is, I’d say it’s an understandable mistake. Statistically, there can’t be a significant number of unbaptized people seeking RCIA who are as well informed about the Christian faith as you are. I think it’s worth trying for a partial exemption from RCIA, though there’s no guaranteee your pastor will agree to this. The rules vary from one diocese to another and even from one parish to another.

  1. The RCIA I attended was complete fluff and almost completely pointless (from the perspective of a former Christian who studied the bible).
  2. Sometimes you can skip RCIA. Find a local parish, speak to the priest, see what can be arranged.
  3. If you do have to go through RCIA remember that even in Scripture there was a period of waiting before Christians were welcomed into the fold. One year is nothing. See it as an opportunity to prove to God how deeply you want to be in communion with Him and His people.
  4. If your RCIA was as bad as mine was try to find ways to make it positive. Humble yourself. Enjoy, at least, meeting and building a small family within the Church (with those who attend with you).

God bless. Welcome home.

PS: My family were in the Sally Ann for many years. :slight_smile:

Oh! And, what you think you know about Scripture may not be what you know. I’d suggest tackling the Understanding the Scripture bible study (if you do a google search for it, it should come up). In it they examine Understanding the Scripture by Scott Hahn and go super in depth. Even if you know everything already it’s nice to hear a good solid, Catholic examination of Scripture.

Found the Bible Study! : https://catholicboard.com/

You do NOT need the textbook to understand but I think it would probably help!


Oooo Thank you so much! I hope I didn’t sound overly rude in my post. I love learning more and more I just worry about RCIA and all. Well I did talk to the Priest I had been talking to for a while. We consider each other friends already and he wants to do a one on one RCIA type of venture in preparation for me to be Baptized and Confirmed at next year’s Easter Vigil. I’m excited to start with him. I’m also excited to do this Bible Study! I love hearing Scott Hahn’s lectures on youtube and reading his books so thank you!


Just wanted to clarify a finer point of terminology here:

Most people will refer to the group classes only when they say RCIA; that’s a colloquialism, but technically incorrect. RCIA is actually the entire process of being catechized and moving through the multiple rites that lead to full initiation (hence the name: Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). So even if the priest skips classes and does things one-on-one with you in a side chapel at daily Mass midweek, it’s still RCIA.


Part of being Catholic is obeying authority and joining in the community of believers. As a Catholic you have to obey and respect the Church’s authority. That doesn’t mean you can’t dislike or even disagree with some of it. This authority certainly includes the process of joining.

The dislike you may have for the process could be viewed as an opportunity to grow in holiness and to shed any of your expectations to be in charge of the Christian Faith. What I mean by that is all Protestants and also the Salvation Army and those like it hold that the individual is in charge of the Christian Faith. They ultimately don’t recognize any authority outside of themselves.

Being in RCIA will introduce you to others exploring the Faith. It will give you a group to belong to within the Church. It is not an untrue observation that many parishes don’t have the same amount of fellowship that Protestants do. Knowing people in RCIA will give you a sort of personal foundation for your journey of faith.

I went through RCIA twice. The second time was private instruction. But at the end of the first RCIA I wasn’t quite ready to join or at least had some unease. My wife went through the next year and then we both joined with neither of us having any hesitations. Often during that two years I really wanted to already be in the Church. I didn’t like not being able to go up for communion. But ultimately it all worked out for the best.


I didn’t go through a formal RCIA Catechism program. I was raised Evangelical Protestant and became convicted of Catholicism in grade 11. I contacted the local parish. It was a small town and they didn’t have a formal RCIA program in place due to lack of interest. In the end the priest met with me one on one for a year and I was received by the local bishop when I was in grade 12. Father met me where I was at. It was great.

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