The Diocese of Des Moines

How do I become a Catholic?

Individuals and families want to know about the Roman Catholic community; some are interested in becoming part of this Christian community. We welcome your interest and inquiry. Here is a brief description. You are always welcome to contact a Catholic parish near you, to receive more information.


An adult seeking to be baptized as a disciple of Jesus Christ and to become a member of the Roman Catholic community participates in a preparation process over an extended period of time. Through this extended process, this journey of faith, the person encounters Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, in and with the community of the Church. By this ongoing encounter with Christ and growth into the community of the Church, the person is drawn to conversion and profession of faith. Surrounded by the prayer and example of the rest of the Church, the person is baptized, anointed with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and welcomed to the Eucharistic table and into the full life of the Church.


This journey of faith is really “an apprenticeship of the entire Christian life,” a “gradual formation for Christian discipleship,” as the Church calls it. The process may last some months to a year or more, depending upon the individual, the grace of God, and the support of the church community.


Shaped by the Church’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, this extended process of initiation is especially for adults who are not baptized Christians. There are other circumstances that affect the shape of a preparation process.


For instance, many adults wanting to become Catholic already are baptized Christians and have been formed as Christian disciples through their families and other Christian churches. For them, the preparation will introduce them to the life and worship of the Roman Catholic community and further their Christian conversion. These baptized Christians, likewise supported by the prayer and example of the Catholic community, are provided with doctrinal and spiritual preparation for their formal reception into the Catholic community. Because they are already baptized, they prepare to profess faith with the Roman Catholic community and then to be welcomed to the Eucharistic table and into the full life of this Christian community. Their preparation process may last some months, depending upon the background and the circumstances for each individual.


In addition, parents and families seek to have an infant or children baptized and welcomed into the Catholic community. Normally, Catholic parishes provide a preparation process for the parents and the godparents seeking baptism for an infant or young child. In this way, the faith of the adults is deepened and strengthened, so they can support the child’s growth in faith through the coming years.


For more information about baptism or about the process of initiation into the Catholic church, feel free to contact the Catholic parish nearest you.