Naumai Haere Mai — Welcome
How to join the Catholic Church
Welcome. We are delighted that you are interested in joining us in our pilgrimage of Faith. Being Catholic is a gift.
Many of us are what are called cradle Catholics. That is, we were baptised and became a Catholic as an infant. The initiative was our parents. They yearned for their child to be part of a faith community the Catholic Church.
The journey to full communion with the Catholic Church is ritualised through reception of the three sacraments of Christian initiation—baptism, confirmation, and the Holy Eucharist—but the process by which one becomes a Catholic can take different forms.
You may already be baptised in the Christian faith and wish to become a member of the Catholic tradition. This is great. Catholics share much in common with all Christian’s in particular our belief in Jesus Christ whose life, death and resurrection brought us fullness of life. For you becoming a Catholic involves you making a profession of the Catholic faith and being formally received into the Church. This is normally followed immediately by confirmation and First Eucharist.
For other people the journey is different – they may need to start right at the beginning learning about Jesus and coming to know him and how the Catholic faith helps us to be in relationship with him.
A person who is baptized in the Catholic Church becomes a Catholic at that moment. One’s initiation is deepened by confirmation and the Eucharist, but one becomes a Catholic at baptism. This is true for children who are baptized Catholic (and receive the other two sacraments later) and for adults who are baptized, confirmed, and receive the Eucharist at the same time.
Before a person is ready to be received into the Church, whether by baptism or by profession of faith, preparation is necessary. The amount and form of this preparation depends on the individual’s circumstance. The most basic division in the kind of preparation needed is between those who are unbaptized and those who have already become Christian through baptism in another church.
For adults and children who have reached the age of reason (age seven), entrance into the Church is governed by the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), sometimes called the Order of Christian Initiation for Adults (OCIA).
Where to start
No matter where you are on the journey the best place to start is to get to know some Catholics. Perhaps someone you know who might talk to you about their faith and take you to Mass. They will be able to introduce you to the priest who is able to direct you to those who will walk with you in this exciting stage of your journey with God.