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How do I become a Catholic?

There are two ways or two tracks for initiation into the Catholic Faith:
1. As an infant / child (Ages newborn – 6 years old)
2. As a child of catechetical age (Ages 7 – 13) and as an adult (Ages 14 +)

Please note that there are three sacraments of Christian initiation that makes someone a fully initiated Catholic. These three sacraments are: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist (First Holy Communion).

1. For infants / children (Newborn to 6 years old) who are not baptized – Parents would request baptism from their local Catholic parish. Usually, the parish will interview the parents and offer the parents (and maybe Godparents) a few baptism preparation sessions prior to the celebration of the child’s baptism. When the child has reached the age of 7 or 8, the child may receive their first Holy Communion after taking at least two years of sacramental preparation classes. Finally, when the child has reached, at minimum, the age of 11, the child may receive the sacrament of Confirmation from a bishop after taking at least two years of sacramental preparation classes.

2. For children of catechetical age (Ages 7 – 13) and adults (Ages 14 +) who are not baptized – they would usually participate in their local parish Catechumenate process and receive the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults which culminates with the celebration of the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist (First Holy Communion), in this order, at the same Mass celebration, usually the Easter Vigil Mass. The Catechumenate process is gradual and takes place within a Catholic faith community know as a parish. Those participating in the Catechumenate – known as catechumens – must undergo a “conversion in mind and in action” and are to develop “a sufficient acquaintance with Christian teaching as well as a spirit of faith and charity”. The Catechumenate process usually takes one to several years. There are several stages and various major and minor Rites that are celebrated during the Catechumenate process to assist in the spiritual formation of the catechumens. Catechumens are assigned a parish Sponsor as a guide and mentor.

If you have additional questions on the Catechumenate (RCIA), please contact your local Catholic parish or the Archdiocesan Director of the Catechumenate at [email protected] or 646-794-2574.

How does a Teenager and adult prepare for the sacrament of Confirmation?
Teenagers (Ages 13 – 17) and Adults (Ages 18 +) who have already received their First Holy Communion and who are seeking preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation, are usually enrolled in a Confirmation program which ends with the celebration of the sacrament of Confirmation with a bishop. The preparation may last several months to several years. The preparation may entail weekly classes, a retreat and some apostolic service. Teenagers (Ages 14 – 17) should contact their local Catholic parish for this preparation. Adults (Ages 18 +) should do the same or contact the Office of Adult Faith Formation for more information at [email protected] or 646-794-2574.

How do I become a priest?

The best place to learn about becoming a diocesan priest is from our Vocations office. Its pages on this site will take you through the steps, from discernment (determining if God is calling you to the priesthood) through seminary application and acceptance to ordination. You can also contact 914-968-1340 or [email protected].

The process of becoming a religious order priest (e.g., Paulist, Dominican, Jesuit) is different from that of becoming a diocesan priest. Applications are made to the religious order. We have provided a few links here, but generally you can find out more about any order’s process by searching online for the name of the order that interests you.

How do I become a deacon?

Becoming a deacon is another wonderful way of serving a faith community. Deacons can perform some, but not all, the functions of a priest, participating in the management of a parish, giving homilies and blessings, baptizing, marrying couples (if delegated to by a priest) and providing pastoral care and counsel. Men who are married may become deacons, but if an unmarried man becomes a deacon, he may not later marry. For more on becoming a deacon, visit the diaconate pages of this site. 

How do I become a sister (also known as a nun)?

Becoming a sister (aka a nun) is similar to becoming a religious order priest in the sense that the process depends on the order (e.g., Sisters of Life, Dominicans, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur). We have provided a few links here, but generally you can find out more about any order by searching online for the name of the one that interests you. 

Curious about religious orders? Check out the Vision Vocation Network. Orders have different focuses based on the particular gifts or charisms of their founders – e.g., preaching, evangelizing. The site provides a matching tool, accessible here, that can help guide you to the orders that might be right for you.

How can I report abuse?

If there is an emergency, and you believe that a child is in imminent risk, please call 911, and then contact the New York State Hotline (1-800-342-3720). The policy of the Archdiocese is to report to law enforcement every allegation that presents reasonable suspicion of child abuse (sexual or otherwise) or neglect.

Our online complaint form may be used to present an allegation that a cleric (bishop, priest, deacon) has committed an act of sexual abuse of a minor. Learn more here.

How do I find a baptism, communion, confirmation, or marriage record?

Each parish keeps its own records of baptisms, first communions, confirmations, marriages, and funerals as long as it is open – so to obtain a record, you generally need to contact the parish at which the sacrament was conferred. You can find all of our parishes in our Parish Finder.

If you are unsure of the parish where the sacrament was performed, please complete this form here and the Archives will help you locate the parish.

You can also write to the Vicar General’s Office at the archdiocese to request a list of possible parishes in a certain area. Please send a self-addressed stamped envelope with your information and request to:

Vicar General’s Office
1011 First Avenue
New York, NY 10022

Please note that the archdiocese does not have a centralized, searchable database of all sacraments. For assistance in locating records relating to genealogical research, you may review the Genealogy Research Policy and submit your search request through the Archives here. Requests are filled in the order they are received, and can take several weeks to process.

How do I find a genealogical record?

Please note that the archdiocese does not have a centralized, searchable database of all sacraments. For assistance in locating records relating to genealogical research, you may review the Genealogy Research Policy and submit your search request through the Archives here. Requests are filled in the order they are received, and can take several weeks to process.

How do I find a transcript or other school record?

Generally, schools maintain their own records as long as they are in operation. To obtain a transcript or other information, contact the school directly. (To find a school, search here.)

The Archives only has records for some of the closed schools in the Archdiocese of New York. Click here for the list of elementary schools and here for the list of high schools, as well as instructions on requesting your transcript.

If you are a former teacher looking for information related to your employment, please contact the Superintendent of Schools Office.

Note: If your school was located in Brooklyn or Queens, then the records are managed by the Archives of the Diocese of Brooklyn.

How can I find out more about my Catholic faith?

Some parishes offer classes for adults interested in expanding their knowledge of the faith. Many also have bible study groups. For this information, inquire with your parish or find a parish here. 

For those looking for something more, the archdiocese’s Adult Faith Formation office offers numerous programs tailored to adult learners, including: 

Enlighten, a joint program with Fordham University’s Graduate School of Religion and Religious Studies. Currently, six courses are offered. All are free and delivered online.

Christlife, a three-step process that helps participants discover, follow, and share Jesus Christ. ChristLife partners with parishes, priests, clergy, religious and lay leaders seeking to answer the Church’s call to evangelize and spread the Gospel.

New York Catholic Bible School illuminates the scriptural foundations of our faith, helps students deepen their appreciation for it and prepares them to share the Word of God. No particular educational background is required, but the Bible School is designed for the serious student. The course of study leads to a Certificate in Basic Scripture Study after two years and a Certificate in Advanced Scripture Study for those who complete the full, four-year course.

Visit the Adult Faith Formation pages on this site for more.

How can I help my children learn more about our faith?

Parishes are the center of religious education for children through confirmation age. To locate a parish and inquire about their religious education programs, use our parish finder. 

For youth 13+
Some parishes offer religious education classes for teens who have already received the sacrament of confirmation. Inquire with your parish or, to locate a parish, use our parish finder. 

Many parishes have youth ministry programs targeted to this age group. Inquire with your pastor. However, if the parish does not have a youth ministry program, then you might consider starting one! If your pastor is supportive, then reach out to the archdiocese’s Youth Faith Formation department. Its Youth Ministry office conducts trainings and offers resources and support for youth ministers and aspiring youth ministers.

The Youth Ministry office also hosts the annual New York Catholic Youth Day, a spirit-filled gathering of teens from all over the archdiocese that includes engaging speakers, music, service projects and more.

How can I stay informed about the Archdiocese of New York?

You can learn more about the work of the Archdiocese of New York by subscribing to The Good Newsroom, the Archdiocese of New York’s innovative digital news platform delivering the latest from around the Archdiocese every single day.

Visit our website to learn more, or follow us on social on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

How can I donate or adjust my donation to the Cardinal’s Annual Stewardship Appeal?

Please visit to learn more about the Cardinal’s Annual Stewardship Appeal. If you have any questions, you can submit them using the form here, or by reaching out to the Cardinal’s Appeal office at 646-794-3300 or by email at [email protected].

What is/how do I get an annulment?

Officially known as a Declaration of Nullity of a Marriage, an annulment declares that a marriage presumed to be valid according to Church law actually fell short of at least one of the elements required for a binding union.

For more information, please see the Tribunal Office.