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Hi,
I have always wanted to be baptized in the Catholic Church, but my mother (a Baptist) was opposed and I did not ever attend regular services. What does one go through to be baptized in the Catholic Church? How long a process is it? I am preparing to be disappointed, as most of my Catholic friends (who were baptized at birth and who don't attend services regularly!!) have told me that it's a lengthy process involving all kinds of classes that I don't have time to attend.

Thanks -

Heather
(08-30-2009, 05:38 PM)heathermayfield Wrote: [ -> ]Hi,
I have always wanted to be baptized in the Catholic Church, but my mother (a Baptist) was opposed and I did not ever attend regular services. What does one go through to be baptized in the Catholic Church? How long a process is it? I am preparing to be disappointed, as most of my Catholic friends (who were baptized at birth and who don't attend services regularly!!) have told me that it's a lengthy process involving all kinds of classes that I don't have time to attend.

Where are you? I recommend finding an FSSP parish if there is one, or any Catholic parish nearby.

Baptism incidently does not have to be done in the Catholic Church as long as it is done with the correct formula and intent, it can be done by anyone at all (so if you were raised a baptist, I imagine you are already baptised).

To enter the Church, it is spiritual done only by your will. Classes, etc are not necessary for salvation. They are however a way to improve the knowledge of new members of the Church, when they are done correctly (I've heard about bad classes...). They are necessary for most parishes to give the sacraments to individuals who enter the Church, but as you noticed, people born in the Church often are delinquent. 

I can assure you, a priest will accomodate you in any way he can.

In the meantime, I recommend you get a good catechism if you don't have one, so you can learn about the faith. You can attend Mass now (although you shouldn't receive communion) and you can probably go to confession as well, although you should make sure the priest knows your situation (for confession, not Mass).

As an adult seeking baptism or full communion in the Church, the length of the process depends on a few things:

1. your background,.
2. your ability to grasp the essentials of Catholicism and your profession of faith. 

If someone is coming from a non-Christian background, and is seeking baptism, he would obviously (well, probably) require more instruction and formation than a person coming from a Lutheran background, who has already been validly baptized, and is already familiar with much of Catholic doctrine and practice.

Talk to a priest. That's the first thing to do.
Hi Heather -- welcome. Smile  When my dad came to the Church from a Baptist background many years ago, he was "conditionally baptized" -- which is not a repetition of the sacrament, which would be impossible, but rather an assurance that it has actually taken place. If you and/or your family cannot remember whether you were baptized or not, or whether your baptism used the scriptural Christian formula -- "I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" -- and if your church did not keep a record by which you can know, this is something they may do. So if you are not sure about whether you were baptized or how, it is something you may want to look into.

As for the classes your friends mention, they are not obligatory but they are something many parishes strongly recommend to be sure you have been instructed in what the Church teaches, and unfortunately, their quality and faithfulness to Catholic teaching varies by location. If you find a priest of the FSSP (Fraternal Society of St Peter) or ICK (Institute of Christ the King), or if you present your case to a priest who is able to take on private instruction, you may be able to be received into the Church without needing to go through them. Like others said, if you tell the priest the circumstances he will be more than likely to accommodate you.

Many prayers and good wishes! Any more questions, this is a great place to ask. I very much hope you can be received into the Church soon. Smile
Two years ago I sponsored a woman from a Baptist background in RCIA. She, too, was conditionally baptized for the reasons Flannery stated. Her period of formation was not as long as the others in the group, because she attended Catholic school as a child. I’d say the whole process for her was a total of three or four months - from the Rite of Acceptance up to the Easter Vigil.
(08-30-2009, 05:56 PM)Rosarium Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-30-2009, 05:38 PM)heathermayfield Wrote: [ -> ]Hi,
I have always wanted to be baptized in the Catholic Church, but my mother (a Baptist) was opposed and I did not ever attend regular services. What does one go through to be baptized in the Catholic Church? How long a process is it? I am preparing to be disappointed, as most of my Catholic friends (who were baptized at birth and who don't attend services regularly!!) have told me that it's a lengthy process involving all kinds of classes that I don't have time to attend.

Where are you? I recommend finding an FSSP parish if there is one, or any Catholic parish nearby.

Baptism incidently does not have to be done in the Catholic Church as long as it is done with the correct formula and intent, it can be done by anyone at all (so if you were raised a baptist, I imagine you are already baptised).

To enter the Church, it is spiritual done only by your will. Classes, etc are not necessary for salvation. They are however a way to improve the knowledge of new members of the Church, when they are done correctly (I've heard about bad classes...). They are necessary for most parishes to give the sacraments to individuals who enter the Church, but as you noticed, people born in the Church often are delinquent. 

I can assure you, a priest will accomodate you in any way he can.

In the meantime, I recommend you get a good catechism if you don't have one, so you can learn about the faith. You can attend Mass now (although you shouldn't receive communion) and you can probably go to confession as well, although you should make sure the priest knows your situation (for confession, not Mass).

If you haven't been baptised in any church yet, there's really no point to going to confession, unless you just want to practice for after you are baptized.  You can't receive any sacramental graces from confession until after you're baptized, which is what begins your spritual life as a Catholic.

(08-31-2009, 04:01 PM)calicatholic Wrote: [ -> ]If you haven't been baptised in any church yet, there's really no point to going to confession, unless you just want to practice for after you are baptized.  You can't receive any sacramental graces from confession until after you're baptized, which is what begins your spritual life as a Catholic.

That is why I said to inform the priest of the situation, and said "probably can go" Wink