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Rosemary Rockwell wrote:

Hi, guys —

My name is Rosemary and I'm 15 years old. I was raised and baptized in the Baptist church but I never felt accepted by the community no matter how hard I tried.

My parents are Christians but don't believe in going to church. They raised me with the belief that Catholics are crazy people who are Hell-bound but I had a hard time believing that so I did my own research.

It turns out Catholicism is in line with my personal beliefs and I'm very interested in joining the Church but with my decision comes four questions.

  • Am I too old for my First Communion?
  • How do I explain my decision to my parents?
  • How do I get into contact with a priest?, and
  • Are Catholics generally accepting of newcomers?

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I don't know where else to turn to.

God bless,

Rosemary

  { Can you help a young, want-to-be-Catholic, Baptist address family and newcomer questions? }

Eric replied:

Rosemary,

I'm so happy to hear of your interest in the Church! You are most welcome to join us at any age.

While First Communion is a term generally used for those seven year-old cradle Catholics being admitted to the Eucharist for the first time, all adult converts receive First Communion in a sense in that they start to receive Communion and at some point they receive for the first time!

Generally they don't dress up in the same way and the context is somewhat different, but it is still a First Communion.

  • I guess I would have to ask what specifically about First Communion do you want to experience?

Nevertheless, you'll have to wait until you are 18 years old if your parents do not approve of your decision.

To get in contact with a priest, you can find your closest parish in the phone book (or the web!), call, and ask for an appointment with a priest and say you want to be received into the Catholic Church (unless you have not been baptized, in which case the magic words are I want to join RCIA ).

Catholics are very accepting of newcomers.

I will issue a bit of a caution. You say It turns out Catholicism is in line with my personal beliefs. The right reason to become Catholic is not because Catholicism lines up with your personal beliefs but because the Catholic Church is a truth-telling Church. In other words, as a Catholic you should believe that your beliefs should align with Catholicism, and not the other way around.

You will be asked, as a convert, to accept whatever the Catholic Church teaches to be revealed by God — now and in the future, known and unknown. You should choose the Church because She tells the truth and always will, not because what She teaches agrees with your opinions.

As for how to tell your parents . . . I'll leave that for one of my colleagues to tackle!

Eric

Mike replied:

Hi Rosemary,

Along with the sediments of my colleague Eric, I would say kudos to following where the spirit has led you to this point. To get more encouragement, let me share my favorites page:

You said:

  • How do I explain my decision to my parents?

Seeing you are not 18 yet, I would follow Eric's advice and find a priest at a local Catholic parish who is known for his kindness and faithfulness to the Church. He can give you the best advice on how to explain your decision, at the appropriate time, to your parents.

Mike

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