How to Join the Church
(How to Become a Catholic)
Step-By Step Instructions for the 21st-Century Layman
1. Prepare yourself for instruction. Read the books that explain what the Catholic Faith teaches. These are called Catechisms, and there are multiple good ones, including:
My Catholic Faith; A Catechism in Pictures, 1954 Edition – by Most Reverend Louis LaRavoire Morrow, D.D.
The Catechism Explained; An Exhaustive Explanation of the Catholic Religion, 1899 – By Rev. Francis Spirago and Rev. Richard F. Clarke, S.J.
The Baltimore Catechism No. 3, And Mass – The Text of the Official Revised Edition 1949 With Summarizations of Doctrine and Study Helps – By Rev. Francis J. Connell, C.SS.R., S.T.D.
Note: If you obtain one or more of these catechisms, make sure they were published prior to 1958. Anything after that year has been revised significantly by the unlawful usurpers to the Chair of Peter and their collaborators (see: the Papacy page).
2. Obtain a pre-Vatican II layman’s missal and follow Saint Jude Shrine’s Sunday livestream or if possible, attend the true Mass locally, which is infinitely more efficacious than watching a webcast of the Mass. The best missals for those new to the ancient Roman rite of the Mass is the Saint Joseph Daily Missal or Saint Pius X Missal - School Edition (the latter of which has the best illustrations - published between 1955 and 1959). A more complete but also more intense guide would be an original or reprint of The New Roman Missal - Father Lasance (1945 Edition). Learn the order of the Mass, especially the three essential parts of the Mass: Offertory, Consecration and Communion.
Note: If you decide to attend another Mass other than the one offered at Saint Jude Shrine, make certain that it is an authentic (unaltered) Catholic Mass said by a true Catholic priest ordained under the Traditional Rite of Holy Orders by a true Catholic bishop. The number of these Masses is dwindling.
3. If you are not Baptized or have a doubtful Baptism and are considering a trip to Texas to formally be received into the Catholic Church, schedule an appointment with Father Louis Campbell. This can be done by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. You may be eligible for Baptism and Confirmation at the same time. Confirmation means “a strengthening,” and is only administered to a Baptized individual. For more information about Baptism and Confirmation, visit the Sacraments pages on our website.
5. If you are a Protestant or Baptized non-Catholic wishing to join the Catholic Church, you may need to make a general Confession, abjuration of heresy, and profession of Faith before admission.
Note: Please view the page section "Baptismal Circumstances" on the website's Baptism page to see if you must make a general Confession or not before receiving the Sacrament of Baptism at Saint Jude Shrine. For more information on how to prepare yourself for a general Confession, if applicable, please see the Penance page and consider reading the PDF titled "Examination of Conscience for Adults," listed at the top of the page.
6. If you receive Baptism and Confirmation, you are now under the Church’s Laws, and must observe Her six precepts (or Six Commandments of the Church). You must stay faithful to Her teachings and not waver until the end of your life. You must always strive to avoid sin and to continue on the path to holiness.
Note: The Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation imprint an indelible (un-erasable) mark on the soul so that the recipient is forever under the authority of God’s Holy Church. The punishment in Hell is much worse for those who abandon the Faith than for those who never joined the Church to begin with. Be certain that you are willing to take on the heavy Cross of membership in Christ’s true Church at a time when hostility toward it is at an unprecedented level, so that you may achieve salvation. “For which of you having a mind to build a tower, doth not first sit down, and reckon the charges that are necessary, whether he have wherewithal to finish it: Lest, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that see it begin to mock him, Saying: this man began to build, and was not able to finish.” (St. Luke 14:28-30).
7. In the modern day, there are many obstacles that seemingly prevent people from joining the Church, whether these are irregular marriage situations, or long-standing attachments to grave (mortal) sins. Keep in mind that you must be ready to enter the state of grace in order to join the Church. To be in an irregular living arrangement or refusing to forego sinful habits shows insincerity and a reluctance to love God above all things. Depart from these attachments (drunkenness, illicit drug addiction, fornication (premarital sex), an adulterous civil union, etc.) before considering becoming a Catholic. You will condemn yourself further by attempting to join the Church without serious preparation or an honest commitment to repudiate Satan and all his enticements to sin. Practice instead adherence to the Three Divine Virtues, Faith, Hope, and Charity. Our Lord said that one must be willing to relinquish all things for Him, “So likewise every one of you that doth not renounce all that he possesseth, cannot be my disciple.” (St. Luke 14:33).