Advice for Someone Returning to the Catholic Church

A few weeks ago, a woman emailed our parish, of which I am webmaster, to say that she would like to return to the Catholic Church and asked what she should do? She had been baptized Catholic but had not attended since. This is quite a common occurrence, so I thought I would share with you what I told her, in a slightly adapted version. It would be good advice for a new Catholic as well.

How wonderful for you! I’m so happy for you to take this step!

First, I would advise you call the Religious Education Office at your chosen parish to register for RCIA, the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, which is the program you will need to take to learn about the faith and to get your sacraments. This usually starts in the Fall.

Second, I would recommend for you make an appointment with one of your parish priests to have a chat to get you started in your spiritual life. I’m sure he would love to meet with you. Don’t be shy.

Third, I would start attending Mass every week, if you aren’t already. Even though you can’t take Communion, you can make a Spiritual Communion at any time, but especially during Communion time at mass. The Spiritual Communion prayer is found here:

Fourth, get a Catholic Bible (protestant bibles don’t have all the books of the bible, so you want a Catholic one) The New Catholic Answer Bible: The New American Bible is excellent. The Leather version is called The New Catholic Answer Bible – Librosario It is beautiful, and is the bible we gave our son for his Confirmation. Start reading it in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) & Acts. Mark is a great one to read first because it is short.

In the meantime, if you haven’t already, you might want to check out these websites and books to help nourish yourself along your journey – of course, at your own pace.

Catholic Answers
A Simple Guide to Christian Meditation
How to Pray the Rosary
EWTN Faith Teachings
Envoy Read back issues & articles
New American Bible Online
Catholics Come Home

Books:
Prayer Primer : Igniting a Fire Within – Fr. Thomas Dubay
Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism An easy must-read by Scott & Kimberly Hahn
The How-To Book of the Mass: Everything You Need to Know but No One Ever Taught You Michael Dubruiel
7 Books for New Catholics

Also, see if there is a Catholic library at your parish or a neighboring one. There are also great podcasts online to help nourish you too. You can listen to them on an MP3 player or on your computer. See my list of podcasts on the left side of this website.

If you need any information or have any questions about the Faith, please don’t hesitate to contact me so I can send you in the right direction.

Congrats on this great step in your life,
God Bless,
Marcy

UPDATE: You might also find helpful the Catholics Come Home website.

What Does It Mean To Live Catholic?

What does it mean to be a LIVE Catholic? It means we are not afraid to live life abundantly! To drink in the beauty of life, family, friends and the world. We are not afraid to explore the wonders of Christ. We have Hope! Hope for a better life in Christ, and most importantly the Hope of being with Christ on the “other side.” Whether we are new Catholics, “Reverts”, members of the life-long faithful, or those just considering Catholicism, we all can live life in the joy of Christ.

Too many Catholics think religion is dour, depressing – what grandmothers and old men do. They have the impression that to be a saint is to be boring and painful. Long hours on their knees wearing hairshirts. But holiness is not about hairshirts – it is about union with God. An aliveness we can not only dream about but actually attain. A great adventure waiting for us that we only have to open ourselves to. And yes, this means YOU TOO!

Saints are truly the most joyful people around. We may not know many – if any – but when you meet one you can sense it immediately. They radiate love, goodness and truth. Sure it is not all fun and games. Life is not like that. But the joy in Christ we experience here on earth is but a taste of the joy to come.

True Catholics don’t spend their time complaining about how unfair the Church is, or how they are not getting their fair share, or how so-and-so said an unthinking word. True Catholics realize that it is all about their relationship with Christ, not about rules. The rules are there to give us a framework to build on, to go beyond. A starting point.

True Catholics are alive in the Faith. They take a journey every day with Christ. They never stop learning. They are never afraid Christ will abandon them. They suffer hardships, pain and disappointments with faith and trust that the Lord will give them the strength and help to persevere.

To get to this point – joy in the Lord amidst life’s struggles – is itself a journey. We have so much to learn and experience. There is a depth to Catholicism that is unfathomable to us. We could spend our entire lives with our nose in book after book, website after website, and never even scratch the surface of the knowledge of Christ held within the Church.

In another way though, knowledge of Christ is profoundly simple. Even small children and the uneducated understand it, and in many ways, better than anyone. They have a deep understanding of who God is and what he wants from our lives. Simple people have far less in their way to Christ than we may have.

To live as a Catholic, to be an alive Catholic, means to not let the world surround us, choke us, smother us with falsehoods. We have to grow in knowledge and holiness. We need to take advantage of the depth and beauty of Catholicism and what the Church has to offer us. We have to not be suspicious, to not always be looking for the “catch.”

Of course, we cannot ignore problems when they happen, in the Church or in life, but we cannot let them spoil our joy. We cannot allow problems to penetrate and sour our relationship with the Church and with Christ.

We also need to let our joy spread. An alive Catholic opens his or her heart to the world. They have compassion for those in the world – be it a starving child, or a person whose heart is a stone. We need to let the Holy Spirit flow through us to spread the Kingdom of Christ. We need to do this even when confronted by hostile territory and the “snakes” of the world. Our mission is to be in Christ and spread Christ in spite of problems or problem people – like family, or co-workers, or even other Catholics.

The most important thing I can possibly say to you is that YOU, with God’s grace, can do this. You too can be a Live Catholic. Someone who radiates joy and has a deep relationship with God. If you trust God, open your heart to him, and seek him with all your heart you will find him.

Why This Blog?

In 1995, when I came back to the Church, I knew very little about the Catholic Faith. I discovered that I, and others who grew up in the 1970’s and 80’s, had been educated in what I refer to as the “Kum Bah Yah School of Catechism,” named after the popular folk song forced upon us at Mass in the 70’s. We were taught that “God was Love” but not much else. We did not really know what the Church taught or why she taught it.

Fast forward 16 years. As I progressed in my faith, I had an insatiable desire to learn everything I could. I read every catalog, book and website I could find. In the process, I learned a great deal, and discovered fantastic resources that I felt I had to share with others. In talking with other Catholics, I discovered that there is a real need that people have in where to go to find out information. They want to know about serious topics, but also about prayer and how to have a “personal relationship with Christ.” Most people are clueless in where to even start. So, here I am to help you. I want to help you find the great resources that are hidden in the midst of all the “weeds.”

I am not a theologian or a religious. I’m a Catholic layperson. My goal in learning, and in sharing with you what I find, is to be true to the Faith. I have no interest in spreading false or dissenting information. I think that if you are going to be Catholic you should learn what the Faith really teaches and why. If you don’t understand a teaching then it is your responsibility to find out more about it, and to pray for that understanding. In the meantime, it is also your responsibility to follow that teaching, even if it is hard.

There are many people who say they are Catholic, but have a specific agenda. They are teaching others what they think the Catholic Church should teach, what they want it to teach, but not what it actually does teach. This agenda usually is driven by those who think the Church should modernize and “get with the times.” But Christ is the Author of Time, the Creator of Time. His teachings don’t change and won’t change. It is our job to find out what they are and follow them. Christ left us the Church to help us do just that.

I’m going to show you resources that can help you with your walk as a Catholic Christian. My aim is to help you, whether you are a convert, revert or experienced Catholic, find what you need, whether it is about Church teachings, or ways you can deepen your relationship with God. I’m also going to share with you my journey. I’ll tell you my thoughts and opinions if I think it will help you. We will not be discussing politics, or politicians, or current events. There are many others out there that do that very well. I’ll tell you which resources I think will be helpful (and faithful) concerning a topic, but I’m not going to add to the fray.

I will treat everyone who comes here with respect and I expect the same from you. Please do not post ugliness. If you would like to email me, my email is Marcy (at) LiveCatholic (dot) net. Please replace the “at” with @, and the “dot” with…well a dot. This format is used to prevent people from stealing email addresses for nefarious purposes. I’d love to hear from you.