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Rachit Mehrotra wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am in the process of conversion to the Catholic faith. I was previously a Hindu and I am going through a year long course.

  • My question is by converting to the Catholic faith, do I need to change my name to an English name?

I love the name my parents have given me.

  • If I have to, is there a way around this?

Many thanks in advance.

Rachit Mehrotra

  { As a Hindu who is joining the Catholic faith, do I have to change my name to an English one? }

Mary Ann replied:

Dear Rachit,

You do not need to change your name at all. You will want to add a Baptismal name, if the meaning of your name has no Christian sensibility to it. For instance, a name that means light or grace or strength could be said to have a Christian sensibility.

Catholicism has been in India since the time of the Apostles so I imagine there are many Hindu language Christian or saints names.

Mary Ann

Eric replied:

Rachit —

You will have an opportunity to adopt a Christian name, such as the name of a saint or virtue, when you are baptized. If your name is the name of a pagan god, or something offensive to Christianity, you might consider using this as your regular name but there is no obligation to do so.

A lot of this depends on the dynamics of culture in India; your name probably marks you as a Hindu and it may be appropriate to adopt a Christian (not necessarily English) name. But you're the judge of what's appropriate or not. I don't think most people legally change their names even when they do adopt a Christian name.

Eric

Mike replied:

Dear Rachit,

First, Welcome to the Church!

Seeing that you have started RCIA classes, I would encourage you to consider buying a cheap copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to learn everything we believe as faithful Catholics.

If you, or any visitor, has been helped by our work at AskACatholic.com, consider financially supporting us today.

Mike

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