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Becoming Catholic

Welcome to the Catholic Church! Thank you for your interest in becoming more acquainted with the Catholic Church, its traditions and services. We offer two paths to entering into the Catholic Church: 1)Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the traditional path to becoming Catholic and extends over a nine-month period of formation of being born into the family of God. This path typically includes non-Christians seeking full membership into the Catholic Church. This in-depth group study meets once a week on Sunday mornings. For more information regarding this path, please contact: Mr. Steve Venckus – 703-599-8529 or email: 2)As an alternative approach, Becoming Catholic is an expedited program geared towards baptized Christians who cannot commit to the traditional RCIA program due to life situations; yet are yearning to become Catholic and receive Sacraments as a full member of the Catholic Church. Our Becoming Catholic program at St. Mary of the Visitation focuses on those who wish to join the Catholic Church and for Catholics who wish to learn more about the faith. Becoming Catholic is a version of RCIA, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, for those who feel called to become Catholic. Our program welcomes those who were baptized in other Christian denominations. “Becoming Catholic” is a blended study program. In addition to our weekly meetings, participants on their own time, read and view materials we provide. This includes weekly reading assignments from a book that presents the fundamentals of Catholicism (We are intending to use Fr. Oscar Lukefahr’s We Believe: A Survey of the Catholic Faith). We provide handouts and ask participants to watch videos, most of which we prepare at St. Mary of the Visitation. In addition, participants during each week spend time in prayer and reflection, and journal weekly, sending their entries to our team. Face-to-Face Meetings On Wednesday evenings, 6:30-8:00 PM, participants meet with members of our team. These live meetings allow us to discuss assignments, have conversations, pose questions, and provide some additional content. We also anticipate the participation of guest speakers to present certain topics based on their past experiences and their applicable faith journey to the topic. Requirements and Schedule “Candidates,” baptized Christians (including those baptized in almost all Christian denominations), and who have a history of involvement in other Christian denominations, work toward receiving the Sacraments of Initiation after completing the 14-week, Becoming Catholic program. Most of our participants are in this category. Some, however, may choose to engage in more prayer and study before being initiated. Requirements for Candidates •All participants must commit to attending Wednesday evening meetings and to take responsibility for study, prayer and reflection on their own time, and sending the team weekly journal entries, each week of the program. (Absences are sometimes inevitable, of course.) Our program leaders are aware that some individuals may have difficulties reading, studying, and writing due to learning differences. We are committed to work with such individuals so that they may complete the program. If these difficulties exist for anyone enrolling in the program, please contact the coordinator to discuss confidentiality and develop an alternate method of participating. •Participate in parish life at St. Mary of the Visitation. Mass attendance is essential. •All complete a 14-week formation period. Requirements include, but are not limited to •Completing weekly assignments (reading, videos, online materials) •Writing a weekly journal entry (We provide alternatives for candidates who struggle to write.) The first journal entry is due before the 2nd class meets. Journal entries will not be accepted if more than 1 week late. •Spending time weekly in prayer and reflection •Attending Wednesday evening meetings. (If you must miss a session, be in touch with the team leader to make special arrangements. If absences are excessive, we can work with you about the best solutions.) •Submit desire to receive the Sacraments of Initiation in writing JOINING AND PARTICIPATING IN BECOMING CATHOLIC Interested persons may email the program coordinator at Mike Janssen ( or contact the parish office (256-536-6349, email A team member communicates with those who are interested in the program to share information and assess each person’s needs. When appropriate, the formation team offers some customization of the program, based on the individual’s history of involvement in Christian worship. The Pastor reserves the right to determine the qualifications and acceptance of all candidates entering into the Becoming Catholic course. Some candidates may be referred to the traditional RCIA course offered by the Parish. Registration Interested persons should register online at (No obligation once you have!) We gather names, contact information, baptismal information, etc. Once registered, we ask participants to enroll in an online classroom system (Google Classroom) which allows us to provide resources, assignments, and for students to complete and submit assignments. To do this, you’ll need a free Gmail address if you don’t already have one. Weekly Topics Week 1:Meet and Greet – Class Introduction Week 2: Course Overview – Your Expectations – The Creed Week 3:The Catholic Bible, Traditions and Practices Week 4:What are Sacraments? Role of Sacraments in Catholic Faith Baptism – Reconciliation - Confirmation Week 5:Matrimony – Holy Orders – Anointing of the Sick Explore Life Benefits of the Beatitudes Week 6:The Source and Summit - The Holy Mass and the Eucharist More than a Service – Participation Guide Week 7:The Holy Mass (continued) Deep Dive and Speaking to Jesus in Adoration Week 8:Our Mother – Blessed Virgin Mary Knowing and Becoming Saints and Prayer Week 9:The Pope and the Vatican Faith Reference Documents and the Media Week 10:Catholic Morality and Ethics in Today’s World Week 11:Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell – and yes, Purgatory Week 12:Contemporary Issues and Controversaries in Catholicism Week 13:How to be Part of Your Local/Parish/Faith Community Week 14:Retreat: Reconciliation – Confirmation - Mass Journaling/Evidence of Engagement As part of our Becoming Catholic program, we ask participants to write a weekly journal entry. The goal of this assignment is to encourage our participants to be actively engaged in the education process and not simply be passive recipients of our provided materials. (We provide a comprehensive instruction guide covering how to journal, which includes sample journal entries.) PLEASE NOTE: WEEKLY JOURNALING (OR AN ARRANGED EQUIVALENT) IS REQUIRED TO COMPLETE THE PROGRAM AND BE CONFIRMED AS CATHOLICS.

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