Welcome. We're glad you are looking into to joining the Catholic Church. Perhaps you have questions or are a bit nervous, that's okay. Know that you are always welcomed in the universal Church. If you are open to seeing what God is offering, you may be surprised with what you find in the Catholic faith.
The Catholic Church has a rich 2,000 year history with many traditions that have withstood the test of time. The four marks-also know as the Attributes-of the Church is that the Church is one, holy, catholic and apostolic. Breaking each of these marks down individually will give you a basic background on how the Church is structured, and how you can advance on your journey to become a part of it.
The Church is one
Just as God is one in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so also is the Church one. The founder of the Church is Jesus Christ, who brought us back to God and made us into the family of God. The Church is one in the Holy Spirit, who dwells in those who believe.
The Church is Holy
The Church is holy because the Church lives in union with Jesus Christ, the source of holiness. Through the Holy Spirit the Church leads others to holiness. The holiness of the Church is seen in the love that the members of the Church have toward one another and the many sacrifices they make for the sake of the world.
The most powerful way that we grow in holiness in the Catholic Church is through her sacraments. The purpose of the sacraments is to make people holy, to build up the Body of Christ and to give worship to God. Worship is integral to our lives as Christians. When we engage in the prayer of the Church and receive the sacraments, we are formed as the Body of Christ. (Click her to learn more about the sacraments.)
The Church is Catholic
Catholic means "universal." The Church is universal in two ways. First, the Church is catholic because all baptized people are part of the Church and the Church possesses the means of salvation. Second, the mission of the Church is universal because the Church has been sent to proclaim Christ ti the entire human race.
The Church is Apostolic
The Church traces its tradition directly from the apostles; therefore, the Church is considered apostolic. With the Holy Spirit the Church preserves and continues the teaching of the apostles. The pope and bishops are the successors and can each trace their lineage directly back to one of the apostles.
Interested in the Next Steps?
The formation of adults and process by which they are initiated into the Church is known as the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, or RCIA. (Click here to learn more about the RCIA program at St. Luke the Evangelist.)