For adults, the process of receving the Sacraments of Initiation and becoming fully initiated members of the Cathoilc Church looks a little different than it does for youth and children. For children this process often takes years and is designed to complement the different stages of young human development. For adults, the process may take several months and is completed through a special candelight ritual on the eve of Easter.
Who is this process for
This process of study is for non-Catholics who are curious about the Catholic Church. Maybe they have a Catholic spouse and want to know more about the beliefs of thier spouse. Maybe they have children in Catholic schools and want to know more about what thier children are learning. Maybe they simply wish to know more or wonder about becoming Catholic.
This process of study is for Catholics who have not received their First Communion, made a Confession or received the Sacrament of Confirmation. For Catholics wishing to be sponsors or godparents, they may need to be fully initiated into the Catholic Church before assuming those important roles. Maybe, they are a Catholic who simply wish to know more about thier faith.
This process of study, for those wishing to become Catholic, for those wanting to be fully initiated in the Catholic Church and for those who just want to know more, has five major tasks:
First task: meet with the pastor
The life of each person is very different. Before beginning this study and preparation process, candidates will want to meet with the pastor so he has an idea of thier background and what their unique needs are. Some candidates may need to find a sponsor or may need to have a marriage blessed. Candidates who have already been Baptized or married, may be asked to provide a copy of certificates attesting to that. At a brief meeting with the pastor, all this will be determined.
Second task: self-paced study
Next, candidates are expected to complete some self-paced study through a combination of reading and watching videos. This portion of the study is designed to fit into any lifestyle over eight weeks. Candidates will want to begin reviewing the material by the end of the first Friday of January at the latest, but it’s completely possible to start going over the material much sooner. There’s no need to buy anything; all the material is available online. The reading material comes from two books. Those who prefer to read from physical copies may purchase them here and here. Ebook versions of the books are also freely available through formed.org, here and here.
A password is needed to access some of the study material. That password is sent to candidates by the pastor after he has met with them.
Third task: in-person discussions
Additionally, candidates are expected to participate in six in-person discussion sessions. These in-person discussions will take place in the Columbus Hall next door to the church. At these discussions, questions will be answered, candidates will review study material, take a deeper look into the life of prayer each Christian is called to nourish and share experiences of service. A special accommodation is made for couples with children: If needed, it’s fine for one parent to attend while the other remains home with children.
Fourth task: service
Finally, candidates are expected to offer at least an hour of service each month in a ministry of their choosing. Through this, candidates will get to know others of our community, what it means to live as a disciple and how we can meet our Saviour through our service to others.
Fifth task: participate in rituals and scrutinies
Candidates are not expected to make any commitments or promises until after they have completed almost all the self-paced study so they are fully aware of what it means to be a Catholic. Beginning in March, candidates will participate in four rituals at the church, called scrutinies, designed to encourage them to prayerfully consider the promises they would be expected to make at Easter. Through these rituals, the congregation will also support candidates through their own prayers.
After all preparation is completed and candiates have had an opportunity to prayerfully consider it, those who wish will be invited to receive the Sacraments of Initiation and become fully initiated members of the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil, a candlelight celebration the night before Easter.
Additionally, some candidates may need to find a sponsor and some may need to have a marriage blessed. If you need either of these, the pastor will let you know. Candidates who have already been Baptized or married, may be asked to provide a copy of certificates attesting to that.