Married couple entering into the church

Hi! So, I just joined a few moments ago after being a silent observer on this site. It’s a little overwhelming, so I do hope I’m posting in the appropriate forum and if not I would love if someone would let me know (and also help me to know what to do about that, haha.) Anyway, here goes!

My name’s Aurora, I’m twenty one, and I want to say a few things that I’m concerned about. Any advice at all would be appreciated.

After much research I’ve realized I would be considered a Catholic because I’ve been baptized but not able to receive communion because I haven’t been Confirmed. I didn’t quite know all the rules, and I felt a calling to the Catholic Church for five years now. During this time I’ve never had a source of transportation, and occasionally could get my mother to drive me to church on Sundays. Sometimes she’d get angry when I would ask, and I would get depressed and just leave it be and not go for a long while. Sometimes I would feel nervous because I was so young (a teenager at the time), and was nervous about most things anyway and I stop going for awhile.

So, I didn’t, until recently, know the rules about Catholicism so much. I have some knowledge now that I’ve been doing research but of course I’ve barely made a dent. My husband and I were married outside of church and I’ve realized that I did a very bad thing by doing this, but he didn’t because he was never baptized Catholic in the first place. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, at least not to the extent that I am now, so now I’m really nervous about having done the wrong thing. I feel terrible about it, and I really hope to make up for it in later times.

Now, I want to go through the RCIA and to prepare myself (I need to be prepared or, again, I get nervous not knowing. This is why I haven’t spoken to anyone directly but instead have been researching) I found out that there are different sorts of RCIA, if that makes sense? I’m sure people reading this are familiar that baptized persons have less step(s?) than unbaptized persons. My husband is an unbaptized person, and my mother has told me I’ve been baptized. I love my mother, but when I questioned her further about getting documents of my baptism she said she would look for them. It’s been some time and now I believe they may be lost. She says the baptism took place either in Baltimore, MD or near it. There’s also a Baltimore County in Maryland, so that’s why she may be confused. For those not familiar with this area, it’s huge, and it seems like quite the task to call all the churches and find out. I’m not sure what to do, and given my mother’s bad memory and health issues in the past, I’m not sure if she’s remembering correctly. For example, she has all of my sister’s baptismal and confirmation things. Somewhere between the time of my sister’s confirmation and after my baptism, my mother decided to stop raising us Catholic, I guess, because I have only one memory of going to Catholic church and I was very young at the time. I guess, after all this rambling (I do apologize), my question is… is there some way to find out if I was baptized short of calling all these churches? Should I explain this situation to the Priest when I find the right church for myself and my husband? I’m just very nervous, I’m sorry.

Just a couple more things. I know more than anything I want to be Catholic. For awhile, persistently, I thought I was being called to be a nun but I’ve either failed that or perhaps it wasn’t my calling, clearly, as I’m married now. I want to work within the church as a layperson and worship and it just feels so right to me. Unfortunately, my husband doesn’t feel the same. I feel like I’m complaining over nothing when I say I worry that he doesn’t want to be Catholic and I’m forcing him. He says that he wants to do whatever I do. Once, when I asked him if he would be Catholic if I didn’t want to be, he said no. He said he just wants to follow me in whatever I do. Is this alright? It doesn’t feel right. Would I be able to go through the RCIA alone? What if he doesn’t? I love him so much, but I don’t want him to join a church for the wrong reasons. I want to be with him, but am I allowed to be both a member of the Catholic Church and a wife to my husband? I’m sorry if these are stupid questions, I’m just ignorant on the subject.

Note: My husband says he wouldn’t go to church if we weren’t together, so it’s not a matter of different religions. He comes from a family of Baptists but has stated that he doesn’t like that, either.

I’ve currently not found churches I want to go to just yet, but I’ve been attending on Sundays (I actually should get to sleep now!) a different church each week to get a feel. So far I haven’t liked the three churches in my area, so I’m extending my search to places within an half hour away. I still have a lot more to go to, and I’m excited to find the church where I feel at home. I hope my husband will change his mind when we find the right church. My husband is more than willing to drive us to church, and so it’s been much easier since we’ve been married to expand my faith.

Also, with the hope that my husband sees the light and decides to join the church for his own reasons rather than mine, would we have to have another marriage ceremony or would the civil ceremony (conducted in a court house) be sufficient?

Please, I know I’ve done so many things wrong. I know, and I feel immensely guilty. I just want to know how I can make things right. Thank you all so much!

I read through your entire post and am touched by your courage and your faith. God bless you, dear one!

You do need to find a parish and speak with a priest. RCIA classes will be starting soon - my parish begins classes end of August I think. Be gentle and understanding with your husband as you go through this process. He will have his own responses and interior experiences through all this. Have faith, pray for him always, invite him to pray with you if he’s open to that.

I, too, need to get to sleep. Know that I will be praying for you.

God bless you!

Gertie

I know several non-Catholics married to Catholics who go to Mass and have for years.

You’re already Catholic; you merely need to complete your initiation. The most accurate answers to questions about that can be had at the Liturgy and Sacraments forum.

Via con Dios!

OP, please check with your priest.

I believe that a baptized Catholic can receive Holy Communion even without being confirmed. The people who were in our RCIA classes who had been baptized but not confirmed were able to receive Holy Communion.

I think you just need to go to Confession if there are mortal sins, but other than that, you are able to receive Holy Communion.

Think about it–children receive Holy Communion without being confirmed first.

Like I said, make sure. Talk to your priest.

A good suggestion would be to try your home parish. The diocese I live in has maps on their website that indicate which parish boundaries you reside in. Please do try to talk with a priest sooner than later. RCIA classes start soon and the initial interviews are already happening in my diocese. I hope your situation can be sorted out in a loving and careful manner. Welcome home, Aurora.

In terms of finding a parish, you’re probably best off with your local parish. Among other things, your local pastor actually has a responsibility to take care of your spiritual needs. You might give them another try.

If you don’t have a copy of your baptismal certificate there are options. Your parish will be able to help you.

Your husband doesn’t have to become Catholic in order for you to be Catholic. If he’s not ready for it right now, perhaps through your prayer and example he will be ready for it in the future. You can still go ahead.

If you haven’t already received your First Communion – and it sounds like you haven’t – RCIA will be the way to go to prepare for Communion and Confirmation. There’s a good chance you’ll meet others there in your same situation of having been baptized Catholic but not raised as a Catholic.

I’m sure other things will come up as you go along. Feel free to ask about them in the Evangelization Forum. Prayers and best wishes as you move forward with this.

I was in a similar situation to you, though I was not married yet, my parents had had me Baptised as a baby and had taken me to a Catholic Church when they went. (Christmas, Easter, funerals, etc) But I never recieved any religious instruction or completed my sacraments. When I became an adult, I went to the nearby parish and spoke to them about becoming a “full member”. I had done alot of research about the Church prior to this and after discussing it with the priest, he determined that I did not require RCIA classes. He told me I could go to reconcilliation and start receiving communion immediately and signed me up for a special confirmation Mass that was held in the diocese each year for adults who were Catholic but had not been confirmed for whatever reason.

You really should speak to your priest about the situation. Even if you don’t need RCIA classes, you might consider going if your husband would like to attend. That way maybe you could both be confirmed together. Since you don’t have records of your Baptism, the priest may decide to do a conditional Baptism, which basically means, “just-in-case-you-aren’t-already-Baptised-properly-I-Baptise-you-now”. Then you and your husband can have your marriage convalidated in the Church. I think there is some sort of blessing involved but it isn’t a big deal and doens’t require a new ceremony or anything like that. I think they’re usually done after a regular Mass.

Thank you all for your responses!

I think, from what he’s been telling me, my husband wants to become a Catholic because I am becoming one (or rather, being confirmed? I’m very bad with terminology). Not because he wants to be one himself. I don’t think he plans to wait until he feels called, but perhaps this is just how he’s going to become a believer? I’m hoping.

I’d like to take the RCIA classes because I really don’t know very much about Catholicism besides the very basics, and that I feel called to it. I’m sure I know just about as much as my husband, who is unbaptized in any religion, does.

Thanks so much about the information about the Conditional Baptism. That makes me feel a lot better! And thank you all for your thoughtful responses and those of you who said you would pray for me.

People start RCIA for lots of reasons and family unity is one of them. As time goes on his reasons may become more personal.

Yes. The understanding of what one is doing and the firm intention to fulfill one’s promises faithfully are what is important.

In many parishes, a baptized Catholic who is preparing to complete the sacraments of initiation can go through RCIA coursework with a spouse who is entering the Church (whether baptized in a different denomination or unbaptized). It is not just more convenient, but can be very helpful in the “comparing notes” when the two of you get home.

Since the OP has very little catechesis in her background, it would not harm her to go through classes as if she were starting from scratch. She might not receive the sacraments of initiation at the same time as her unbaptized spouse, but that doesn’t mean they cannot learn the faith side-by-side. In her shoes, I’d advocate for that arrangement.

Wow, you got a lot going on. My suggestion would be to go to a priest at a nearby parish and speak to him about your situation. It sounds wonderful that you have a supportive husband behind you. I recommend a convert and now Catholic Scott Hahn. Look him up on u tube and listen to his conversion story. This might help. And I also want to welcome you to the Catholic Family. Look always to be faithful to God and His Church and enjoy all the good He brings.

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