Greek Orthodox to Catholic

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  I have an RCIA question. We have a parishioner who was baptized and raised Greek Orthodox. She also attended Catholic school growing up and is now a mom and teacher at our parish school. 

This year she approached me about RCIA. I invited her to attend RCIA classes if she simply wants to learn more about the Catholic tradition. She has expressed a desire to become Catholic and I promised that I would look into the appropriate ritual and that she could be received at any given Mass…I think our weekly all-school Mass would be lovely.

I’m pretty sure I understand the Rite of Reception and “Celebrant’s Sign of Welcome” as explained in the RCIA book. It is my understanding also that she would become a Greek Catholic rather than a Roman Catholic…but to tell you the truth, I’m not sure I fully understand the logic to be able to adequately articulate it to her. Here’s where I would appreciate your insight…also if you have any liturgical advise for her reception.

PS – she also has a question about having a Catholic funeral Mass if she chooses to remain Greek Orthodox. 


A:  See RCIA 474. When a Greek Orthodox person wishes to become Catholic, “no liturgical rite is required, but simply a profession of Catholic faith.” In my view, doing it at mass, even a school mass, is not appropriate. It should take place as simply as possible. I did it once, inside a church, but with only a handful of family and friends present. Confirmation is not administered. It takes only a few minutes.

Canonically, such persons become Catholic, though not part of our Latin Catholic Church. Because of the importance of these small rites, they are encouraged to remain practicing within their rite. But they may receive communion at any Catholic parish.

Regarding funerals, paragraph 120 of the Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism says this: “In the prudent judgment of the local Ordinary, the funeral rites of the Catholic Church may be granted to members of a non-Catholic Church or ecclesial Community, unless it is evidently contrary to their will and provided that their own minister is unavailable, (123) and that the general provisions of Canon Law do not forbid it.” So, if the bishop approves it, a Roman Catholic Latin Rite parish may conduct the funeral services for a deceased Greek Orthodox person.