You have landed in good company. I maintain a catholic ping list for those interested in events and stories about the church. Please freepmail me if you would like to be added to the list (which I highly recommend :-).
Here's something you probably won't learn in RCIA. The Catholic Church is both Western and Eastern. As most of us realize, the Church began in the East. Our Lord lived and died and resurrected in the Holy Land. The Church spread from Jerusalem throughout the known world. As the Church spread, it encountered different cultures and adapted, retaining from each culture what was consistent with the Gospel. In the city of Alexandria, the Church became very Egyptian; in Antioch it remained very Jewish; in Rome it took on an Italian appearance and in Constantinople it took on the trappings of the Roman imperial court. All the churches which developed this way were Eastern, except Rome. Most Catholics in the United States have their roots in Western Europe where the Roman rite predominated. It has been said that the Eastern Catholic Churches are "the best kept secret in the Catholic Church."
The Vatican II Council declared that "all should realize it is of supreme importance to understand, venerate, preserve, and foster the exceedingly rich liturgical and spiritual heritage of the Eastern churches, in order faithfully to preserve the fullness of Christian tradition" (Unitatis Redintegrato, 15).
I attend a Maronite Catholic Church. The Consecration is in Aramaic, using the words and language of our Lord at the Last Supper. Communion is ONLY distributed by the priest. It is by intinction (the priest dips the consecrated host into the Precious Blood) and is ONLY received on the tongue. The priest administers communion with the words: "The Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is given to you for the remission of sin and eternal salvation".
A Roman Catholic may attend the Divine Liturgy at any Eastern Catholic Church. You can learn more about the 22 different liturgies at this link:
If you post your home town, it's possible that some of the other catholic freepers can help you on your journey. We have several members who have already swum the Tiber and still others who, like you, are midstream. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to freepmail me. If I can't answer it, I promise to put you in touch with someone who can.
Pax et Bonum
Thank you, please do add me to your ping list. I am coming from a Baptist background, so much of the ceremonies and actions are new to me, but I feel much more comfortable and relaxed in mass than I ever did in other services.
“We have several members who have already swum the Tiber and still others who, like you, are midstream. . .”
Some of us have one foot in the water and another on the beach, mustering the courage to dive in and swim.