What is the best way to explain converting?


#1

Hello, I'm Tracy and I have four beautiful girls ages 12,11, 7 and 4.
Just this year they are attending a wonderful Catholic school. Previously they were homeschooled. Its a small school of about 70 kids from prek to 8th grade but its wonderful. Anyways just recently my husband and I started RCIA as I was born and baptized Catholic but never recieved the rest of the Sacraments growing up as my mother switched faith. My husband was brought up in a Presybterian(sp?) church but attended Catholic School for elementary and high school.

For a very long time my husband has felt led to be part of the Catholic church and my reason is I would like to finish what my parents had started , learn more, and I too feel led to the church. I believe God led us there for a reason.

Anyways all these years my girls have attended Protestant churches so this is what they are accustomed to. They know their father and I have decided to be a part of the Catholic church so its not a surprise to them. But we would like to have our whole family be as one. My oldest doesn't seem to be on board so much ( my 12 yr) my 11 yr old is but isn't sure, and my younger two aren't old enough nor do they have a clue, nor does it seem to bother them. Actually my 7 and 4 yr old seem to really enjoy the Catholic faith.

So what is the best way to explain to them that this is what we both would like for our family? Do I let my 12 yr have a say on whether she is a part of the Catholic faith ? I'm not sure if I've even worded this right or how to even approach it.

Anyone out there who has converted from one faith to another and can give some advice? :confused:


#2

[quote="TracyR, post:1, topic:219765"]
So what is the best way to explain to them that this is what we both would like for our family? Do I let my 12 yr have a say on whether she is a part of the Catholic faith ? I'm not sure if I've even worded this right or how to even approach it.

Anyone out there who has converted from one faith to another and can give some advice? :confused:

[/quote]

First, welcome home! :D

As for your children, first, are they baptized? That will make a difference in how this all works.

For the purpose of baptism and entering the church, one is either an infant or an adult. The cut off is around the age of 7. This means that around this age they are developed enough that they know right from wrong and should have some say in whether or not they are baptized/ received into the church. So, no, you should not force you children to enter the church. It needs to be partly their choice.

On the other hand, as their parents, you are responsible for teaching them the truth. So you should require that they learn about the faith and what it means to be Catholic. You should encourage them to be Catholic, but forcing older children will just backfire.

As for the practical advice on where to go from here, I would start by figuring out exactly what the process would be for your kids in your parish. The youngest will either be baptized soon, or if they are already baptized more or less automatically become Catholic and receive the sacraments at whatever the normal times are for children in your area.

As for the oldest two for sure, and most likely the 7 year old, there should be some kind of way for them to catch up on the basics of the faith. How exactly this will work will depend on whether or not they've been baptized as well as exactly how things are organized in your parish. Talk to whoever is in charge of RCIA at your parish, or they may send you to the Director of Religious Ed, and find out how things work.

As for how to encourage an interest, first off, I would be very open about yours and your husband's journey and how it is affecting your life. Also begin with incorporating the Catholic faith into your daily lives, pray together, read the Bible together, go to Mass together, talk about the faith, all of those kinds of things. And just see where it all leads. :thumbsup:

Many prayers for your whole family! :signofcross:


#3

I endorse all of Karen's reply - particularly about baptism, and the age of reason.

The only thing I would add would to be careful of rejecting your protestant background too strongly. Your post hasn't suggested that you are doing this, but I am just thinking about the course that conversion often takes - it is a common experience of converts, to whatever denomination, to be critical of the denomination they have come from, at least in the early stages of their conversion, and then to become more respectful as the years pass. Because you are already (successfully?) raising children in one denomination I would recommend that, in order to avoid confusing them, you actively emphasize the good points in your current faith and church, and what you already have in common with Catholicism.

You may have to practice "ecumenism" in your own family, so it might a good idea to read some of the Church's teaching on the matter. The Wikipedia article Catholic Church and Ecumenism is an excellent summary of both the history and current situation, and a good place to start with further reading.


#4

Explain how the Sacraments of Reconciliaton and the Eucharist will build their relationship with Jesus.

We use this book in RCIA but it's actually for RCIC.

*The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth, Second Edition *

amazon.com/Catholic-Faith-Handbook-Youth-Second/dp/088489987X/ref=pd_sim_b_64


#5

Maybe with you 12yr old, sit down and talk to her about it. See what she feels, and what she would like to do. Maybe, do the same with your younger children, discuss it with them. :) See what they think and feel, don't force it onto them.

Also let (esp the older one) have some space, let them reflect and decide. I am 23 years old, and it took me 1 year to make my decision to become Catholic, and I am RCIA now. :)


#6

At the 6th grade, I'd imagine it's the fear of losing her established friendships in the Protestant Church - who by now probably "feel" like family to her.


#7

My oldest two were baptized in the Methodist church. This was the church my husband’s parents belonged to. My younger two have not been baptized. My 3rd daughter wasn’t as we had moved and were searching for a church, time passed us by and before we knew it my 4th daughter was born and was born with multiple health issues so we were homebound the first three years of her life. Actually this year for preschool is her first time really venturing out on a more consistent basis and doesn’t always include, home, hospital, doctors visits…etc. So in a long breath my older two are baptized my younger two are not. The Catholic church we are now attending requires the family to be a practicing member of the parish. So we have to wait to have them baptized. Its a bit late for my older girls to join in the RCIC classes and they will have to wait until next year if its something they want to do. Communion isn’t done until 3rd grade at the parish either ( I had always assumed they did it around 7) but my daughter is in 1st grade. I’m not sure if they go by grade or age or both yet.
I guess we just take it one step at a time and see where it ges from there.


#8

[quote="TracyR, post:7, topic:219765"]
My oldest two were baptized in the Methodist church. This was the church my husband's parents belonged to. My younger two have not been baptized. My 3rd daughter wasn't as we had moved and were searching for a church, time passed us by and before we knew it my 4th daughter was born and was born with multiple health issues so we were homebound the first three years of her life. Actually this year for preschool is her first time really venturing out on a more consistent basis and doesn't always include, home, hospital, doctors visits..etc. So in a long breath my older two are baptized my younger two are not. The Catholic church we are now attending requires the family to be a practicing member of the parish. So we have to wait to have them baptized. Its a bit late for my older girls to join in the RCIC classes and they will have to wait until next year if its something they want to do. Communion isn't done until 3rd grade at the parish either ( I had always assumed they did it around 7) but my daughter is in 1st grade. I'm not sure if they go by grade or age or both yet.
I guess we just take it one step at a time and see where it ges from there.

[/quote]

Ok, so your oldest two would be received into the church in the same way your husband will be (I'm assuming he has also been baptized) by a profession of faith and receiving the sacraments. (stepping on my soapbox here, despite what many parishes insist on calling it, it is properly RCIA (adapted for kids/teens) since they are either infants or adults, there really is no such thing as RCIC. :stepping off soapbox now: ;) )

You 3rd daughter is at the in between age. It will really be up to you and your priest as to how it will work for her. If I had to guess, it would be she will be baptized as an infant since she is before the age they generally receive 1st Communion in your parish.

As for the infant baptisms, yes, the requirement is there has to be hope that the child will be raised in the faith before they are to be baptized. Waiting until you all are through RCIA is often how that works out in real life.

Yup, one step at a time is a good way to go. :D Keep learning about the faith yourself, the more you know, the easier it will be to encourage your daughters to learn. This is an exciting period, embrace it all! :D


#9

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