Becoming Catholic and Getting Confirmed FAQs

What is the goal of the RCIA or Short Course process?

The goal of both RCIA and the Short Course is simple: to form you into an intentional disciple of Jesus Christ within the universal Catholic Christian community of faith.

How do I choose between the RCIA or the Short Course process?

You don't have to; we will advise you on that, based on your spiritual background, previous faith experiences, and current practices. The first step on the journey is simply to reach out to Brett Perkins (brett.perkins@nd.edu or 574.631.3250) to express your interest in exploring the possibility of becoming Catholic or getting Confirmed in the Church.  You will then receive a link to complete our Inquirer Information Form, which will allow you to share more information regarding your spiritual background, previous faith experiences, and current practices. We will then schedule a one-on-one meeting for a more thorough discussion, during which we can answer any questions you might have as well as recommend which formation process (RCIA or Short Course) we feel would be best suited to your particular spiritual needs, all with an eye toward your development into an intentional disciple of Jesus Christ within the Catholic Church. Ultimately, both RCIA and the Short Course will lead you to full Sacramental initiation into the Catholic Christian Church.

When does RCIA or Short Course meet?

RCIA and Short Course meet weekly on Sundays. RCIA gathers for the 10 a.m. Sunday Mass in the Basilica, followed by a Sunday Session from 11:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m, beginning in early September. The Short Course meets for the 12 p.m. Sunday Mass in the Basilica, followed by a Sunday Session from 1:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. The RCIA cohort remains together for both the fall and spring semesters, while a new Short Course cohort begins with the start of each new semester.

What does a typical RCIA or Short Course Sunday session look like?

Each week’s Sunday session includes time for prayer and fellowship, an interactive teaching presentation on a core aspect of Catholic Christian faith rooted in the Bible and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and small group conversation. Worshiping together at Sunday Mass at the Basilica is also a key part of each Sunday’s gathering.

What if I’m not sure about the time commitment?

We have worked with many students who have unusually hectic lives. While RCIA and the Short Course are our normative means for an individual to become Catholic or prepare for Confirmation, we do have other means to facilitate this process that can work with even the most challenging schedules. Simply email Brett Perkins at brett.perkins@nd.edu to set up a time to discuss and to formulate a plan that will work best for you.  

How do I sign up?

Come to one of our Information Sessions, which take place at the start of each semester, or email Brett Perkins at any time. Since RCIA is a year-long process, registration typically closes in mid-September. For the fall and spring cohorts of the Short Course, registration typically closes within two weeks of the start of each semester. If you find yourself interested in becoming Catholic or getting Confirmed and it’s outside of one of these registration times, no worries!  Please just email Brett and you can begin some preliminary elements of the process in a one-on-one setting.

Do I have to know that I definitely want to become Catholic or be Confirmed before I sign up?

While some individuals come to us knowing that they are ready to become Catholic Christians or celebrate their Confirmation, the majority of our participants are simply open to this possibility.  Both RCIA and the Short Course are meant to be processes of discernment, meaning they are meant to provide the space and time you need to ask questions, pray, experience our liturgical worship, and learn more about God as well as the beliefs and life of Catholic Christians before saying "yes."  Ask all the questions that you want!  We hope to help you find meaningful answers. Ultimately the decision to become a Catholic Christian or be Confirmed is one that only you can make, all under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. 

Who leads the RCIA or Short Course?

Our Assistant Director of Evangelization & Religious Education is Brett Perkins, and he also coordinates the RCIA Process.  Brett is assisted by Fr. Brian Ching, C.S.C., our Sacramental Preparation Chaplain and Coordinator of the Short Course Process, along with two teams of roughly 10 undergraduate and graduate student volunteers, who lead the various aspects of our RCIA and Short Course weekly Sunday Sessions.

What is a sponsor, and how do I get one?

Each individual in RCIA or the Short Course undertakes this journey with the guidance of a mentor-in-faith known as a sponsor. Sponsors are full-initiated (confirmed), practicing, faith-filled Catholic Christians who desire to share their faith with those journeying toward becoming Catholic or getting Confirmed in the Church.  Sponsors attend all RCIA or Short Course sessions and events with their candidate. You are welcome to select your own sponsor (as long as they meet the above criteria), or we can help match you up with one.  If you’re a Catholic interested in serving as a sponsor, please email Brett Perkins, or attend one of our Information Sessions at the beginning of each semester.