Post # 1
1. How long does the conversion to Catholicism take? What are the steps needed to take? And… most importantly, do you need to go through the church where you intend to have your ceremony.
2. More angsty emotional: I’m not Catholic, was raised Buddhist, but went to Catholic schools for 12 years (first grade through high school), and even worked at the rectory where I went to grade school. While I have a connection to the parish, my parents aren’t exactly parishioners. My boyfriend, on the other hand, grew up in the parish next door, and his parents are active within the parish. It’s important to him to 1) get married in that church. 2) raise our children Catholic.
We’ve spoken about it, and I’m more than willing to convert. My mother and grandmother both adopted the religions of their husbands, and raised their children as a “unified front”, so to speak. Also, I feel I’m pretty well versed in Catholic tenants and dogma, and I’d like to exlpore all that I was taught when I was younger as an adult in a more spiritual way.
But, I still want to honor my parents and the fact that I was raised Buddhist in a ceremony, in a church. Is this possible? We’ve discussed having a full mass, because it’s something his mother really wants (and I know it’s going to be “my” day, but family is really important to us, and I’d rather explore all options before ruling it out). In my head, I kind of envision a full mass, but having a Buddhist monk (a good friend of my family) and a priest (a good friend of his family) say two homilies. Is this possible? I feel that it’s a great way to give a nod to both of our families, and how important they are to us, but I don’t want to offend anyone in the church by bringing this up. Any advice?
Post # 3
For Catholics the timing goes around Easter. At our church they do baptism, communium and confirmation at the Easter Vigil, so you have to get your classes all done before then.
Post # 4
To answer your first question: it depends. typically it’s a lenghtly process that could start as early as September you are confirmed Catholic at Easter. But there were some people that joined the process later in the year when I was a sponsor. That said, depending on your circumstances and reasons for conversion, some parishes/priests may do the process differently…but I’m not sure. I’ve only seen it done at Easter.
I commend your willingness to convert for your future family, but you should not rush the process just for the wedding. You can still have the full mass and recieve a blessing when your husband takes communion. But no, you do not need to be baptized/confirmed/receive communion at the church where you’re getting married. The RCIA program is a great way to learn about the Catholic faith through conversion as an adult. I was a sponsor and was really pleased about the message of love as opposed to just following rules that are typically taught when you’re younger.
For your second question, you can look into an ecumenical service. I don’t know much about it, but I have seen a wedding where the Methodist minister also had a part in the Catholic ceremony. I’m sure together with your husband, priest, and monk, you can find a way to celebrate both sides.
Post # 5
Most classes start in September and then you receive your sacrements on Easter Vigil. You don’t have to take them at the same church you plan to get married in. But usually to get married in a certain church at least one of you needs to be a registered there.
As for the second part, that is most likely something you’ll have to discuss with your priest. Some might be open to that, others may not. But if you can’t do it, is there any other part of the wedding where you can incorporate something to honor the buddhist culture?
Post # 6
Wow! So many big steps for you to go down.
Conversion is done through a program called Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. It can take 1-2 years (some churches have kind of a “seeker” session for the first year where people just come to learn and ask questions, while the second year is more to actually start getting ready to enter into the Church). Since you are fairly well versed in Catholic theology, you might not have to do the 2 year program if it is one.
A compromise that a lot of priests do in order to incorporate both faiths is have someone else say something during the homily. I’m sure a Buddhist monk is a less requested speaker, but I wouldn’t think there would be a problem unless you know he was going to say something directly against Catholic teaching. An older priest might be more uncomfortable with the idea, a newer one might be more welcome to it.
Post # 7
You need RCIA! I did it last year and it was great. Weekly meetings from September to Holy Saturday when I recieved the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and First Holy Communion. Ask at your fiancee’s church if they offer RCIA or can lead you to a church where they offer the classes. We had people join in months into the programme so don’t worry if you’ve missed the start of it, especially as you seem to be familiar with Catholic teaching.
As RCIA is in no way linked to your future nuptials, there is no need to do RCIA in the same church you want your wedding in, but it makes sense to do it in your fiancee’s parish if possible, especially as it may be your parish aswell very soon!
It will depend on your parish and priest as to what would be allowed with regards to the Buddhist element. In reality, you aren’t really allowed to deviate too much from the layout of the Mass, so I’m not sure how they would fit it in, but doesn’t hurt to ask!
Best of luck- let us know what happens!