I am a protestant believer who has become convienced that the Catholic Church is the true church. Why do I have to wait until September to start RCIA and then wait until Easter to come into the church? If I witness to others about my new found faith, what do I tell them to do if they believe too and want to come into the church? “Wait until September so that you can go through 6 months of classes and then you can come into the church”? What do they do in the meantime? It seems like this is leaving people hanging and not very welcoming on the part of the church. Can you offer any advice or encouragement about what to do or what should be happening?
First of all, it’s great to hear that you’re on your way to becoming a Catholic! As a convert myself, I know that the “waiting” is the hardest part. Yet as difficult as it is to wait (especially to receive the Eucharist), it is necessary and worth it. A well-formed Catholic is a convinced Catholic. This takes serious study. Try not to let your impatience get the best of you. God understands your longing: trust Him to see you through.
“The purpose of the catechumenate is to provide the candidates with a thorough background in Christian teaching. “A thoroughly comprehensive catechesis on the truths of Catholic doctrine and moral life, aided by approved catechetical texts, is to be provided during the period of the catechumenate” (U.S. Conference of Bishops, National Statues for the Catechumenate, Nov. 11, 1986). The catechumenate is also intended to give the candidates the opportunity to reflect upon and firm up their desire to become Catholics, and to give them the chance to show that they are ready to take this serious step (cf. Luke 14:27-33; 2 Pet. 2:20-22). It will also give you a “…lively understanding of the contents of Revelation: that is, of the totality of God’s plan and the mysteries of faith, of their connection with each other and with Christ, the centre of the revealed mystery…” (cin.org/users/james/files/how2.htm) “In the words of St. Augustine, “I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe.” Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 158 .
Keep in mind that all the months of catechesis is to prepare you for that glorious day when you will make your profession of faith. When you can say with heartfelt conviction: “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.” For “The most valuable gift that the Church can offer to the bewildered and restless world of our time is to form within it Christians who are confirmed in what is essential and who are humbly joyful in their faith.” Catechesi Tradendae
Meanwhile, let the joy of your new found faith lead others to Christ’s Church. Don’t allow frustration and impatience destroy your joy. Be active in sharing your faith (Philemon 1:6). Get involved at your parish. Perhaps your sponsor can help you. I also encourage you to deepen your prayer life. Pray the Rosary. Read the lives of the Saints. Read the Bible. And when you attend Mass, make an act of Spiritual Communion. In doing so you will receive many graces.
Act of Spiritual Communion:
*My Jesus, I believe that you art present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love you above all things and I desire you in my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though you were already there, I embrace you and unite myself wholly to you; permit not that I should ever be separated from you. --St. Alphonsus Liguouri *
You are in my prayers.