Becoming Catholic

Begin Your Inquiry into the Catholic Church Here

The Roman Catholic Church
Thank you for your interest in the Catholic Church, which was founded by Jesus Christ and is based on Sacred Scripture (the Bible) and Sacred Tradition (truths that have been handed down through the ages). There are many ways to learn more about the Catholic Church.

Talk to Us
If you live in the Charlottesville area, we welcome you to call our office at (434) 973-4381 and make an appointment to talk to a priest or deacon. If you would prefer to talk with a member of our staff, we can arrange for that too.

Worship with Us
Everyone is also welcome to attend our Sunday Liturgies (Masses). You can just observe or you can participate as fully as you like, the only exception being that those who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church are not permitted to receive the Holy Eucharist (the Body and Blood of Christ under the appearance of bread and wine).

Use the Internet
If you would rather explore the Catholic faith on the Internet before you talk to someone in person, we recommend that you look at authentically Catholic sources for your information. We have compiled a list of various Catholic web sites as a good place to start.

Begin the Process of Joining
If you’ve already given some thought to becoming Catholic and you want to learn more about the process, please read the information below entitled: The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). It will give you an idea of what’s involved.

We encourage you to learn more about our faith in whatever ways are most comfortable for you, and we welcome you and stand ready to answer any questions you may have. Toward the end of August each year we offer a series of inquiry sessions for those who are considering beginning the process of initiation.

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA)

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the process by which adults learn more about the Catholic faith and become Catholic. This process usually begins in early September each year. The process is gradual and is marked by rituals celebrated throughout the liturgical year. It is a period of spiritual formation, prayer, and education. It is designed to accommodate those who have never been baptized (catechumens) as well as those who have been baptized in another Christian tradition but are seeking full communion with the Catholic Church (candidates).

For those who decide to continue on their faith journey, in November sponsors are assigned and the catechumens and candidates are formally welcomed in a liturgical rite that occurs during a Sunday Mass. From that point forward until the Sunday before Easter, catechumens and candidates attend the first part of Sunday Mass (the Liturgy of the Word) and then join catechists (teachers) who discuss with them the Scripture readings used at the Mass for that Sunday.

The formation process continues with some liturgical rites that occur during Lent (the 40 days before Easter) for those who still want to join the Catholic Church. At the Easter Vigil (the Saturday night before Easter Sunday), catechumens are baptized, and candidates are formally received into the Church. Instruction continues on Thursday evenings until Pentecost (usually near the end of May). You can view the calendar for 2018-19 here.

We pray that you will be blessed with knowledge and wisdom as you use this information, and we welcome your comments and inquiries. Please feel free to make use of any of the contact links on the Incarnation Website.