Becoming Catholic

I registered for RCIA last night. It was only an informal setup to meet the people running the classes and to fill out forms, give them your baptism certificate, find out how the program works, when classes start (in two weeks), etc. I talked to the lady who does the organization part of RCIA for a while. She asked all about my family and why I was there, initially very carefully and diplomatically, probably in case I was a skittish Protestant. So I ended up going through the whole story of how Chris and I met, and how he was able to convert after moving to America, how I became convinced of the truth of the Catholic Faith, etc. She was very excited by it, and said this story topped any she’s heard. At one point she used the phrase “become one of us” and I almost laughed. At least I know there is a Church-faithful Catholic involved in RCIA at our parish. It’s a fairly liberal parish, in a rather liberal city, so I’m wondering how this is all going to go.

I’m looking forward to joining the Church. I’m most looking forward to my first communion, which is one of the things that has moved me to go ahead rather than give this any more time to percolate. I really want the life that Christ has promised in his Body and Blood. I’m nervous though, and feel a little like I’m rolling down a steep incline uncontrollably toward my inevitable future. I dread telling my parents, on the level of when I told them I was pregnant before we were married, although I’m sure I’m working myself up over nothing and will get little overt response. I’ll probably get more sarcastic below the belt remarks like when I told my parents, “Hey, I wanted to ask you something.” and my dad answered, “No, we’re not going to become Catholic.” It’s not like they don’t expect it. I’m sure they’ll just take every opportunity to remind me of the “truth” and as my dad says “go back to the basics” that we agree on. He almost chants “saved by faith through grace” sometimes. I want to say “Yes, dad, but what exactly do you think that means?”… “saved by surrender to Christ through the gratuitous gift of God enabling us to do His will.” I’m not sure he’d agree with that understanding, but what fault can he find with it?

As a side note, I’m considering getting a Masters in Theology from the Augustine Institute, part time and long distance. I read so much already, it’d be nice to have some instruction and direction. Yet, I’m not sure that a physics/math B.S. is a sufficient preparation for it. And I really don’t know what I’d do for a recommendation letter. My astronomy professor I interned for and keep in touch with would write a letter, but has no idea what they’re looking for. Neither do I, really. Thoughts?

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14 Responses to Becoming Catholic

  1. Lacey says:

    I’m totally going to look into this Augustine Institute thing! So cool!

    I ended up finally joining RCIA… kind of jumping in before I was *sure* I was ready (I was) for the same reason you have: the Eucharist. I had a rough first couple of sessions, I’ll admit. Sometimes the classes were way too elementary for me considering my strong Protestant background and the sheer amount of study and prayer I had done before deciding to enter the church so I was a little disillusioned with the process, but now I am really happy with our little community. Everyone is in a different place, our group has people of all walks of life, lots of different faith traditions, and is of varied ages, but we are all seeking the same thing. Pretty cool.

    Also, I was terrified of telling my family. I thought they would absolutely flip (we had lots of preliminary conversations about Catholicism that did NOT go well) but when I finally told my mom she basically said “yeah, and?” They all knew it was going to happen probably before I did even, so don’t stress about it too much.

    I’ll be praying for you!!

  2. lenetta says:

    Wonderful news!!! Hubs and I went through a few months of RCIA, more as an informational process. I was a bit disappointed in the priest, though, who told us that “we really don’t believe in purgatory anymore.” Back then, I didn’t really know any better.

    My cousin got a masters in theology, I think . . . and if I’m remembering correctly, her BA is in something like Communications (think journalism but more touchy-feely or something). I don’t know much at all about recommendation letters, though. :>)

  3. Stacey says:

    Lacey,

    Do you think you’d do the Theology or Biblical Studies Masters? Let me know if you do. I already told my parents I was thinking of doing it, and my dad’s only response was “Is it a Catholic University?” *sigh* I will probably get the same response you did when I tell them. Thanks for your prayers!

    Since I went to a lot of the classes when Chris went through RCIA, I’m expecting mostly basic, and sometimes liberal and unorthodox teachings. I am looking forward to it though, and getting to know others who are joining the Church. That was the way we met people at our old parish, so I’m hoping we’ll get to know some people here too.

    Lenetta,

    I’m sorry you went through a bad RCIA class. That really annoys me, but without good teachers, what can we do?

  4. stirenaeus says:

    I was wondering when you’d post again. Anyway.

    YAY! So excited for you!

    My wife and I are going to begin personal instruction soon, since we need to remain anonymous, *but* there’s a local parish I really like that’s orthdox and pro-life (you should have heard the sermon tonight; wow!) with an RCIA program. It may be far enough away from all my employment connections, and the RCIA program might be good enough, that it’d be an option. Part of me doesn’t want to walk this alone with my wife, but wants to be part of a group.

  5. Stacey says:

    Irenaeus,

    Yes, I don’t seem to have much left to say about my personal story, since I’ve worked through most of my difficulties. Most of what I’d have to say now is poor repeats of arguments the masters that I read have written. I think my blog might change soon to a question and answer session with my family. I’m going to clean it up and offer it as an explanation for why I believe.

    I have heard some people say that RCIA is only for those who don’t know what they’re getting into and that people who have looked into it like us should approach the priest and do it separately. But like you, I want to be a part of a group, and don’t much care that it’ll be less instructive and more a lesson in community and humility. I hope you and your wife get a chance to join RCIA. More though, I hope you guys get a chance to join the Church! I’ll be praying God opens up a job opportunity for you.

  6. stirenaeus says:

    Keep blogging about your experiences! It’s a mAJOR encouragement to me.

  7. stirenaeus says:

    Also —

    (1) I think you’d be just fine doing the Augustine Institute thing. Through your own study, you probably know more than most people enrolling. Seriously; looks that way to me, from what I’ve read on your blog.

    (2) I could write you a letter. Seriously. As I know the President, Tim Gray, personally, it might just work.

  8. Lacey says:

    Stacey,

    I don’t know! I need to look into it more… I tend to think Theology, but I would want to know more about both programs…

    And I just love in your comment above when you said that you are considering RCIA to be “a lesson in community and humility.” That is exactly what it has been for me thus far, and honestly, I can get the theology on my own and from my fiance (I had already studied, restudied, and studied Catholic theology some more when I showed up to the first meeting)… the community and humility are both things I want and need in spades. It’s really a lovely thought. And also, something our very wise RCIA director has mentioned to us a couple times: the members of the church love and need to see us going through this program. It encourages them in their faith, seeing that others want to join them and are willing to go through a lot (seriously, two meetings a week for a year! Crazy!) in order to do so. If my going through the program encourages anyone in their faith, I’m more than willing to go through the program.

    Thanks for sharing your journey so far… I know I don’t comment much (I think this is maybe the third time), but your story (as it is so very similar to mine) has been very encouraging!!

  9. Stacey says:

    Wow, Irenaeus, that’s an awesome offer. I may just take you up on that. You know more about my conversion and any kind of ability I may have reading and writing in this subject than even my priest knows at this point, and as a professor, you have a position of experience and some authority in these matters. I’ll have to find out if I can enroll for the spring semester or if I have to wait until fall. Can I email you at the address you use to post here?

  10. Stacey says:

    Lacey,

    I’m more drawn to the Theology program as well, but am thinking maybe I should look into the Biblical Studies since it may help when talking to Protestants like my family.

    Two meetings a week? We only have to do one! It’s really encouraging for me, too, to hear from other converts and people who take their faith seriously and really love the Church, like you, Irenaeus, and Lenetta πŸ™‚ The blogosphere is nice for that reason. It’s not always easy to strike up an acquaintance with the person in the pew behind you even if they don’t duck out right after communion, or even the guy at the back praying the rosary after mass. It’s lovely to see that, but it’s not something you interrupt in order to share your stories.

  11. stirenaeus says:

    That email will work just fine. maximusconfessor [atsies] gmail [dotsies] comsies.

  12. Tap says:

    Good to hear, hope you blog about your experience in RCIA as well. Would be interesting to see what they are teaching these day. As other have pointed out it probably should be rudimentary for you, given how much you already know. Good Luck

  13. Stacey says:

    Thanks Tap πŸ™‚ I’m sure I’ll write about things as they come up!

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