RCIA Catholics: What led you to start classes?

When I lived in Oklahoma, I had been learning about Catholicism and attending Mass for some time. (I had been raised in a Protestant church.) Within a few days of moving to New Jersey, I found a flyer on my door inviting inquirers to call a local parish. Certain that this flyer was a sign from God, I went straight to my phone and called. Within minutes, the director of the RCIA called back. A few weeks later, I was attending RCIA classes.

I’d love to hear about your journeys. So please share your story.

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My wife and I had been married by a Protestant minister about 17 years at the time. I knew she couldn’t receive communion because I had previously been divorced (ex was also Catholic). She was not comfortable with the Protestant churches we had tried. I encouraged her to speak to a priest to find out what we could do to get her back into good standing with the church. We met with our priest who explained the annulment and convalidation processes to us. He also suggested I join the RCIA class that was to begin the next month, to learn more about the Catholic faith. I decided to do that, even though I had to split my RCIA education between my home Pennsylvania parish and our snowbird parish in Florida. By Christmas my previous marriage had been annulled, we convalidated our marriage between Christmas and New Years two years ago, and I had decided to convert.

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After years of thinking, running away, researching, running away, and thinking some more I finally decided to stop running.

The catalyst to actually join the Catholic Church was a moment of personal crisis. I needed my faith and I quickly discovered that I was no longer Baptist, but I didn’t know what I was. That desire to join the Catholic Church rushed back again. I came back to CAF. I did a final push of research to get my last questions answered.

From there I just had to decided to go to a Catholic Church. I found the nearest one, and went to adoration and had a truly profound experience there. I instantly felt at home. The following Sunday I went to mass. Afterward, I spoke/cried to the pastor, and I haven’t turned back since.

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I left the Church as a teen, and was gone for many decades. When I decided to return, I attended RCIA. I had already had all my sacraments of initiation, but I had not learned much about my faith (if I had been better catechized, I would never have fallen in with Baptists!). This was a way for me to learn as well as participate with those who were motivated.

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I was an Episcopalian, but not attending church. My daughter had become Catholic when she married. One day I was with my 4 year old grandson and he asked me why I didn’t go to church? I fumbled around, trying to explain. Next time, he said “Nonna, I think you should be a Catholic “
Whew!! It made sense to me!! After much soul searching I enrolled in RCIA. I’ve been a Catholic for 9 years, sponsored my grandson in his confirmation , and thank God everyday I said “yes”.
…out of the mouths of babes.

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My Uncle converted to Catholicism so he could marry his Catholic sweetheart. He was the black sheep of the family for yeeeeaaarrrsss! But that didn’t stop him from coming around every Christmas when all the family would gather at my grandparents house Christmas Day. Inevitably he would get around to talking about the Church. I always found it extremely interesting. I was raised Baptist with a side of Pentecostal mixed in. My paternal grandmother would sneak us off to Pentecostal meetings quite a bit. In the 70’s huge tent revivals were very popular. After I moved away from home I began to explore Catholicism more seriously. Mom and Dad couldn’t stop me now! Over the years I would buy a book here, buy a book there. Then I bought the Catechism and finally a very nice Catholic Bible. Then I began attending Mass here and there. Then my illness hit me hard and pretty much put me out of commission for about 3 1/2 years. After I began to slowly be able to be a bit more mobile and things eased a bit I called the closest Church to me inquiring about RCIA Classes. I attended those and the Priest was very pleasantly surprised that I knew so much about the Church. I told him my story and he was extremely supportive. I really liked him. He was a great Priest. He and I had a rapport that I cherish to this day. He isn’t at my Parish anymore however. Anyway, after RCIA Classes I was Confirmed on March 26th, 2005. And I am just as excited today to be Catholic as the day I was confirmed.

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@sancte_trinitatis I’m sorry about your mobility problems. But I’m glad that you took the RCIA journey. God bless you! :smiley:

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I had already been researching Catholicism intensely for a few months and was 99% sure I was going to convert. RCIA was just something I had heard you should do. I’m glad I did it. There’s some things that apologetics is just not good enough at dealing with, and RCIA gave me the chance to deal with those internal doubts.

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Well, a bit complicated but here it is. In 1985, DW and I were vacationing in Europe. She just “had to” go to Lourdes. So, we went. I was not raised in any religion and had not even been baptized. DW again insisted that I cross myself with water from the grotto. So, I did. I read a sign there that said something to the effect of “Like Bernadette, you do not wash your face, but you cleanse your soul.” It brought tears. Yet, I felt no healing, as I was not sick. Hmmmm.

We left Lourdes and were driving to Genoa, Italy about one week later. Suddenly, police and security were everywhere along the Autostrada. There were people carrying placards. DW shouted out, “It’s the Pope!” So we stopped. Although it meant little to me at the time, we received Pope (Saint) John Paul II’s Apostolic blessing as he passed us.

The next year, I was in RCIA. But wait, there’s more! >> 21 years. Diagnosed with cancer. Remission. Cancer again. Remission again. Cancer again, but two cancers. Then, from treatment, a third cancer and what’s worse, all three cancers simultaneously. 99.5% chance of not making it. That was over three years ago. No sign of any of the three cancers.

Then it struck me: Saint Bernadette is the patron Saint of those with bodily illness. She was on my case decades before I was even sick. What did she know? Still brings tears.

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@po18guy
Your story is beautiful. It is a blessing to read. I had a similar experience with Our Lady of Guadalupe. Forty years ago, I went on a high school trip to Mexico. At the time, I was an inactive Baptist with a life-long fascination with Catholicism. One day, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe was on the itinerary. As I zipped by on the people mover/conveyor belt, I looked up at the tilma. I can’t say that I was hit by lightning, but seeing the tilma planted a seed. I’m sure of it. At the end of my spiritually tumultuous 20s, I was received into the church.

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A little back story. When I was young my parents took us to Mass every once in a blue moon until we just quit going all together. I never received any of the Sacraments. That is the extent of my religious upbringing. Fast forward to my early twenties and I met my now wife. It was very important to her that we get married in the Church (she’s a cradle Catholic). We got engaged in February and that following Autumn I entered RCIA. Well 9 months of instruction was not enough to keep me in church and after the excitement and newness wore off I fell away. About 6 years ago I had an awakening that brought me back. I still fall like everyone else but make frequent use of the Sacraments.

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Well they wouldn’t let me in without attending at least some of them…

In all seriousness, I had pretty much made my decision by the time I entered RCIA. I’d done a lot of study either on my own or with the help of a Catholic friend. It actually looks like I joined up on here before I entered RCIA, as well.

As far as how I made that decision - I carried a lot of hurt from my protestant background. One thing I knew I wanted, as I came back to faith, was some sort of stable interpretive body. I knew that there seemed to be as many “plain meanings” of Scripture as people reading it. I also desired a greater respect for the intellectual life and a church that seemed less beholden to american politics.

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