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John wrote:

Hi Everyone!

Alright, so here's my situation. I was baptized and raised as an Episcopalian. A few years ago,
my family and I quit going to church except on major holidays.

Anyway, recently I have taken up going to church with my girlfriend and her family, who are devout Catholics. Lately, I've been thinking about it, and I've enjoyed going with them so much that I am considering converting, however, here are the problems that I have run into.

I can't receive Holy Communion in the Catholic Church, because I am not a Catholic. I did when
I went to my Episcopalian church, but her mother says that since I am not a Catholic, I cannot receive Holy Communion with everyone else.

Now that I am considering converting, I am at a standstill. I can't receive Confirmation classes to become a Catholic until I have had my First Communion. I can't receive Holy Communion because I am not a member of the Catholic Church. (This is all according to her mother.)

So my questions are:

  • Which parts of what her mom has told me are true? and
  • What do I need to do to convert — basically, where do I need to start?

I've considered going and sitting down with the priest but I wanted to ask around first so that
I am a little better informed on how all of this works.

Thank you so much!

John

  { Is what her mother said about receiving Communion correct and what do I need to do to join? }

Mike replied:

Hi John,

Thanks for the question.

Everything your girlfriend's mother said is correct.

Although it's not talked or catechized as much as it should, when Catholic's receive
Holy Communion, they not only believe they are receiving the real Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord, but they are also making a public statement, that by receiving Holy Communion they are in a Common Union, with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Receiving communion at an Episcopalian congregation is totally different because they don't have valid Holy Orders. Holy Orders is the sacrament that make a man a priest, so the man, Jesus, can act through the priest, also a man.

The two communions may look the same but:

  • what each faith believes about the Eucharist
  • what actually happens after the consecration, and
  • the validity of their Holy Orders

makes a big difference. A Protestant can't receive, in general, any of the other sacraments until they are a Catholic.

It's not my intent to be negative or discourage you. Your desire is a calling of the Holy Spirit you should follow. We have received similar e-mails like yours from people with a strong desire to join the Church.

The best way to proceed is to make an appointment with a priest or the pastor at your local Catholic parish. Share with him what you have shared with us and he can ensure that the proper steps are taken so you can become a Catholic and receive Holy Communion, as well as the other sacraments, on a regular basis. Also ask about what ministries his parish has to offer. This way you can get connected with new Catholic friends and family.

You may be interested in my favorites page too:

I use to run a free program that sent Catechisms to seeking Protestants and non-Christians but no longer have the financial or operational means to do this anymore.

Seeing you may be preparing to take RCIA classes in the near future, 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.

Check out my other site too: BibleBeltCatholics.com. It's all about the Early Church Fathers,
the very first Christians of the faith.

I hope this helps,

Mike

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
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