Thinking about becoming Catholic? Explore the rich history and sacraments of the Catholic faith through the UMass Lowell Catholic Campus Ministry. We welcome new members into the Catholic Church through a process of education, faith sharing, and rituals known as the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). RCIA participants undergo conversion as they study the Gospel, profess faith in Jesus and the Catholic Church, and receive the sacraments. The RCIA process follows the ancient practice of the Church and was restored by the Second Vatican Council as the normal way adults prepare to become full Catholics.
The RCIA is structured over a series of ceremonial steps and periods of learning, and the timing of these may vary for each person. One may take as much time as he or she needs in the initiation process before becoming ready for full initiation through the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist. Initiation within the Church is a journey of conversion that is gradual and ongoing and suited to your individual needs. It is a process rather than an educational program or class and this process takes place within the community of the faithful here at UMass Lowell.
Just have questions? Want to learn a little bit more?
The Campus Ministry office offers the opportunity to meet one-on-one with the campus minister or in a small group of students to discuss Catholicism and look at various topics relating to faith (liturgy, sacraments, morality, Bible, Catholic practices). Just have one or a few questions? Want to learn more about Catholicism without any obligations? Just ask us!
Who is eligible to become Catholic; to start RCIA?
Everybody! All people who are open to discerning their personal experience of faith and to learning more about the Catholic Church are welcome to begin the RCIA process. Many people come to an awareness of their desire to learn about membership in the Catholic Church in different ways. Often it may be a personal faith experience, overcoming personal difficulty and tragedy, or a relationship or discussion with a person of faith which leads one to begin this exciting journey. All that is truly required is a sincere desire to learn, to grow, and to develop one’s relationship with God. The RCIA process can be applied to the following 3 groups:
- Unbaptized: persons (age of discretion: 7+ years) who have never been baptized and who need a process to help them grow in awareness to God’s call to conversion as well as ways to respond to that call. They are considered catechumens.
- Baptized in Another Christian Church: Those who were baptized into another Christian denomination and wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. They are considered candidates. For baptized Christians interested in possibly joining the Catholic Church, the process will vary depending upon the depth on one’s religious and spiritual readiness.
- Baptized but uncatechized Catholic Adults: persons who were baptized as infants and not given any or little religious instruction in the Catholic faith. These adults will be prepared to celebrate the sacraments of penance, confirmation and Holy Communion. They are also considered candidates.
Read more detail about each of the steps from the Archdiocese of Boston.
How do I find out more?
Contact us at UMass Lowell Catholic Campus Ministry to learn more about the process and, if you’re ready, how to get started!