Welcome. We're glad you're interested in learning more about the Catholic faith and hope that this introduction will lead you to discover more.
How do I find out more about Catholicism?
One of the best ways is to speak with someone you know who is a practicing Catholic, a member of the clergy or to contact a Catholic parish near you and let them know that you are interested in finding out more about the Catholic faith. You'll be invited to join with others like yourself as you inquire into what "being Catholic" is all about.
In addition, the Catholic Information Center in Grand Rapids offers a variety of programs designed to provide participants with a deeper personal experience of God. Attend a Catholic inquiry class at the CIC, or if you're not ready to take that step, the CIC livestreams several of its classes online at www.catholicinformationcenter.org.
What if I think that I want to become Catholic?
Catholics believe that God calls individuals to live the Good News proclaimed by Jesus and to become his disciples as members of the Catholic Church. If you want to become Catholic, you'll participate in a process called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). Adults or children who have reached the age of reason (about 7 years old) learn about the teachings of Jesus as the Catholic Church has handed them on and put these teachings into practice by living as part of the Catholic community, serving others, discussing, praying and studying.
What does initiation into the Catholic Church entail?
If you have not been baptized, the Christian initiation process prepares you to become a Catholic Christian by celebrating what we call the sacraments of Christian initiation: baptism, confirmation and Eucharist or Holy Communion. If you have been baptized in another Christian tradition, the initiation process prepares you to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church by celebrating the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist or Holy Communion.
How long does it take to become a Catholic?
Becoming Catholic is a life-long commitment. However, the Christian initiation process typically lasts for several months or longer in order to prepare to take this step. Participants in the initiation process generally meet once or twice each week, including part of the Mass on Sunday, but each parish initiation schedule varies. The initiation of individuals who are ready to become new members of the Catholic Church may take place at Easter (in March or April) or at other times throughout the year.
What if I change my mind?
You do not make any commitment or obligation by inquiring about Catholicism or beginning the Christian initiation process. We want you to take the time you need as you think about becoming Catholic and we respect your decision to stop or to say, "not right now" at any time.
I'm divorced. Can I still be Catholic?
Yes you can become Catholic. Being divorced is in and of itself not the “serious” issue. The issue is only if you have remarried or are intending to remarry. Then It would be necessary to go through the annulment process. Jesus says in Marks’s Gospel “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” Therefore this would also be true if your spouse or your fiancé was at one point divorced. Then we would have to talk to them about getting an annulment prior to your becoming Catholic. Begin a conversation with your parish pastor, or locate a parish near you to begin this discussion.