Q. 1. How long does it take to join the Catholic Church? What I mean is, if I was to convert, how long would it be before I would become a Catholic?
A. 1. In most cases, it takes about nine months if the present month is September. Newcomers to the Catholic faith are asked to join the R.C.I.A. (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). The classes begin in September of each year and end on Easter during the following year.
So if you are asking the question in May, you will have to wait until September to start taking the classes, which means the answer would be about one year.
If you are asking the question in January, it is too late to participate in the present R.C.I.A. classes. So again, you will have to wait until September to join the classes. Therefore, it would take about one and a half year before you can become a Catholic.
The aforementioned is based on newcomers who know nothing about the Catholic faith. In a situation where a non-Catholic has been married to a Catholic for a number of year and attending the Catholic Church on a regular basis, less time may be required to educate the individual in the Catholic faith. Often the priest will provide the necessary education in a few weekly meetings. So in such a case, it can take two to three months.
In a situation where an individual needs more time to study the liturgy, possibly the Catechism of the Catholic Church, understanding the Sacraments, etc... the journey may take two to three years. Everyone has a different starting point and their spiritual journey to the Catholic faith may vary from the journey of the other converts. For that reason, parishes are flexible in sponsoring and guiding that journey.