RCIA... at Seventeen?

Hey everyone… just a one of the many questions swirling around in my head: can a seventeen-year-old take the RCIA classes and become Catholic? I’ll be eighteen in December, before I would take my first communion…

A little background: I was raised Nazarene (which is a Protestant denomination similar to Methodist or Wesleyan), but my family has always been interested in theology, therefore we hold a lot of the same beliefs as Catholics do. I have been attending the Catholic church with my boyfriend and his family for the past five months… it started out as curiosity, but I’ve discovered that I really like Catholicism and attending mass. I’ve been doing a lot of research on my own, and have several friends who are Catholic who happily answer many of my theological and doctrinal questions. I’m still not sure if I want to convert or not… but I keep thinking about it, and feel very much like I need to move towards taking that step…

However, I will be a senior in high school this year, and am only seventeen. I’ll be eighteen in December, and I’m also debating going to a Catholic college, but I’m a little worried that the process will take too long and I’ll be shuffled back and forth between parishes, trying to join the church on my own, etc. I’ve already been baptized in the Nazarene church (in the Christian faith)… does that count as an official baptism to the Church? Like I said, I’ve been doing a lot of research… I’ve been reading the Catechism, and I have a Catholic Bible that I’ve been reading through.

What are your opinions? Should I do more research and wait to convert? Or should I take the class anyway? Can I take the classes and not become Catholic at the end if I decide that it’s not what God wants me to do?

Any help, advice, or opinions would be appreciated. Thanks! :slight_smile:

~ Jade

I’m sure you would be accepted into the local RCIA program. I’m assuming the Nazarene Church baptizes “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” and not simply 'In the name of Jesus"? If so, it’s a valid baptism – although I must admit I haven’t seen the Nazarene Church listed as one that does celebrate valid baptisms.

If I were you I would contact the priest where you go to Mass and tell him exactly what you’ve told us. I’m sure he’d be happy to have you learn more about the faith and receive you into full Communion when the time comes. I’m assuming that your parents are OK with this? If not you would have to wait until you’re legally an adult to actually become Catholic but I don’t think there would be a problem doing it earlier if your parents are not opposed. If you are validly baptized, depending on the parish, you might actually get instruction directly from the priest and not have to go through RCIA. That’s what would happen in our parish.

I took RCIA classes starting at 17, so it can be done. And I took them for, I think, 3 years, because it took me a long time to fully decide. So, yes, you can take the classes and change your mind at the end. (Or, you can probably do what I did and continue taking the classes for another year or two, if you’re still not sure.)

We’ve had 16-year-olds in our RCIA.

If you’ve been raised Nazarene, you probably know quite a bit about the Bible. I think RCIA would be the right place for you to learn about the Catholic Church and its teachings.

That’s awesome… yes, my parents support me completely. My dad has said that if I become Catholic, he and I will have a few debates, but he will always be there to support me if I feel God calling me to do so.

I am fairly knowledgeable about the Bible and Christianity in general, it’s just some of the Catholic specifics that still elude me. And yes, we are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Thanks for the answers… I guess I should go talk to the priest. :slight_smile:

Actually, anyone over the age of reason (usually considered to be about the age of 7) goes through RCIA (adapted for their age). So a 17-year-old can definitely go through RCIA.

I’m still not sure if I want to convert or not… but I keep thinking about it, and feel very much like I need to move towards taking that step…

Being unsure is fine. RCIA will allow you to discern if this is the right direction for you. There’s no pressure that you have to come into the Church just because you check things out.

However, I will be a senior in high school this year, and am only seventeen. I’ll be eighteen in December, and I’m also debating going to a Catholic college, but I’m a little worried that the process will take too long and I’ll be shuffled back and forth between parishes, trying to join the church on my own, etc. I’ve already been baptized in the Nazarene church (in the Christian faith)… does that count as an official baptism to the Church? Like I said, I’ve been doing a lot of research… I’ve been reading the Catechism, and I have a Catholic Bible that I’ve been reading through.

If you were to start soon you would probably be received into the Church while you’re still in high school.

Assuming your Nazarene baptism was trinitiarian and with water it would be valid.

The only sticking point I see based on your age is how your parents feel about the idea of your becoming Catholic. If they’re supportive then it’s fine. If they’re opposed, it may be better to wait until you go off to college.

  • :clapping: It’s wonderful that the Lord is leading you to His Holy Catholic Church . . . an RCIA class could be very helpful at this point in your spiritual life . . . and there is an excellent RCIA book which has been put together by our Holy Church for those such as you . . . check out your local Catholic bookstore . . . These are the years that our Wonderful God often calls His young people to grow in a new directions by His Grace . . . The riches of the Catholic Church are deep and wide . . . just take it day by day . . . and let our . . . **Wonderful Lord and His Holy Mother bless and lead you **. . . and do check in with the priest where you are attending the Holy Mass . . . Just take it step by step . . . learning portion by portion . . . here a little . . . there a little . . . and the treasures of . . . Christ Jesus’ Holy Church . . . will bless your life more and more each wonderful day . . .

"But grow in grace,
and in the knowledge
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
To him be glory
both now and for ever.
Amen.

2 Peter 3:18
:bible1:

*God’s sweetest blessiing as you grow and learn in His Love about our Wonderful Church . . . *

[RIGHT]. . . all for Jesus+
. . . Holy Mother Mary . . . take this dear
child under your holy mantle +
. . . guide and care for her+
:gopray2: + [/RIGHT]

Jade,

You can certainly join the RCIA program at age 17!

Depending upon the schedule at your local parish, you can probably join RCIA in the fall and be received into the Church at the Easter Vigil in Spring '10.

Of course you can begin RCIA, unless you are forbidden by you parent, then I would wait.

In our diocese those under 18 must be brought in through the program for teenagers because of the requirement for background investigations of those dealing with minors.

I have had one or two 18 year-olds in the adult program. I think they might have been better served in the teen program. Their concerns, areas of interest etc would have been better covered in a program directed to youth. Also, I think they may have felt inhibited in discussions with so many adults and no one of their own age.

Hmm, that’s an interesting point… thanks.

Do it, you won’t regret it.

I’ll be praying for you.

The short answer is “Yes.” And we welcome you with open arms!

I was 16 when I first contacted my local Catholic Church with my desire to come home to Catholic Christianity. I was raised a Southern Baptist even though I was baptized a Catholic as an infant. I was 17 when I began RCIA classes and by the time I was fully Initiated into the Church I was 18 (I went through RCIA twice, lol).

Fear not, the Lord is with you.

LOL, it looks like a lot of us have come home to the Church in our teenage years.

Glory to God!!! :thumbsup:

I would not worry about the age at first. I am a revert (lapsed) Catholic coming back after decades away from the church. I have been out since the V2 changes just started and have forgotten much and what I do remember is in Latin which I have forgotten.

My diosese does not have a returning Catholics program so I am going through RCIA as second best and relearning all the stuff I used to know. Of the poeple there the ages range from about 16 to 60. Go, enjoy, learn, be blessed.

Yes

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