The Catholic Church welcomes anyone who is thinking about what it would mean to become a Catholic.

You don’t have to be a Catholic to visit a Catholic church. Everyone is welcome to visit and spend some time there but unfortunately these days many of our churches are only open when there is a service taking place. Some, however, are able to stay open for much of the day.

You don’t have to be a Catholic to take part in Catholic services such as the celebration of Mass. Anyone can take part in our celebrations although there are some parts of them, such as sharing Communion at Mass, which are reserved for Catholics.

If you want to find out more about becoming a Catholic the best thing is to ask questions. You may already have friends or relatives who are Catholic and you could talk to them. You may already know a Catholic priest and could talk to him. But talking and asking questions is good!

The local parish priest or some members of your local parish will be able to tell you how their parish offers to help people to find out more and possibly to go on to join the Catholic Church. Many parishes have meetings – sometimes called RCIA Groups [Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults] or Journey of Faith or something similar. Many of these groups lead up to Easter every year which is the best time for adults to be received into the Church. Those who are to be received into the Church need to satisfy themselves during the time of preparation that the Catholic Church is where they feel most comfortable in expressing and practising their faith in God.

Those who have not been already baptised (or ‘christened’) in another Christian Church will be baptised in the Catholic Church and immediately go on to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation and the gift of Jesus himself in Communion.

Those who have already been baptised (or ‘christened’) in another Christian Church will not be ‘re-baptised’ but will be formally received into the Catholic Church and then immediately go on to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation and the gift of Jesus himself in Communion.

These things are normally best celebrated as part of the high point of our Church’s year, the celebration of Easter and particularly during the Solemn Easter Vigil on the evening before Easter Sunday.

But perhaps this is too much detail for you now. You may just want to take your time. You may have all sorts of other questions to ask. You are who you are: you are where you are: and we are delighted that you are interested in asking the question “How can I find out more about becoming a Catholic?” The best and simplest advice we can give you is get in contact with a local Catholic parish, let them know that you want to know more about the Catholic Church and take it from there – click here to find your nearest Catholic parish in a map. We hope all goes well.

If you have any difficulties or just don’t know who to contact, try our Diocesan Pastoral Centre 0114 256 6401 or send us an email: contact@hallam-diocese.com.