Dear Catholic Exchange:
I was raised in Protestent churches, but never felt at "home" there, and the older I get the more I view myself as a Catholic. After attending Mass and a lot of thought and study on the subject of my personal beliefs, faith, and the Church, I would like to become an official member of the Catholic Church, but do not know where to begin or who to ask for more information.
God bless you for your decision to step out in faith and seek to become a Catholic! Ordinarily, one would enter the Church through one's local parish. I assume that would be where you've attended Mass on occasion. Anyway, go to the closest church and introduce yourself to the pastor. What he'll do is enroll you in the parish's RCIA program. That stands for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, which traces its roots to the early Church. Practically speaking, this will involve attending a weekly program to introduce you to the Catholic faith and prepare you for the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist) at next year's Easter Vigil.
I'd also recommend that you consider becoming a member of Catholics United for the Faith (www.cuf.org). We have several resources that might be of particular assistance to you in your journey, including a toll-free helpline where you can ask our trained staff any questions you might have regarding Catholic faith and practices. In addition, we would be willing to connect you with CUF members in your area who may assist and befriend you in your preparation, possibly even serving as your sponsor.
One of my favorite images of the Church is that of the "family of God," where we are called to be united as brothers and sisters in Christ. Therefore, I thank God that another family member is on the journey home to the Catholic Church. You certainly will be remembered in my prayers during this graced time for you.
United in the Faith,
Catholics United for the Faith
827 North Fourth Street
Steubenville, OH 43952