Discussions with online Catholics around justification can get confusing, especially Catholics who are former Protestants. The confusion comes when certain Catholics try to minimize the works portion of their justification and emphasize the faith only portion of justification ("initial justification"). The intent seems to be to convince others that Protestants and Catholics are actually not that different with regards to their doctrines on justification (the Reformation was apparently a big misunderstanding).
I was, however, able to find other online Catholics who are more upfront about their works in justification:
“The Catholic Church teaches that although faith is critically important, it only begins the process of justification, a process which also has a middle and an end. Justification is not a single event of faith alone, nor are works merely the fruit of such faith, but a process whereby the individual grows in justification by his faith and good works, a growth which can be retarded, or even terminated, by faithlessness and bad works, ending in damnation.
… If Paul lifts the doing of works for obtaining eternal life to such a height as he does in Rom. 2:6-10, what, then, can we conclude about Paul’s understanding of works in relation to justification? The conclusion must be that works are necessary for justification, and, in fact, are one of the principle determining factors in whether or not one obtains salvation. We say this with the proviso that Paul outrightly condemns works done from boasting with a view toward obligating God to pay the worker with salvation (Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5).” Robert Sungenis
“In any event, if one wishes to use the language the Bible uses, one would say that one is justified by faith apart from "works of the Law" (Rom. 3:28), but not by "faith alone," apart from works (Jas. 2:24).” James Akin
“But we Catholics insist that James 2:14–26 shows that works are more than mere evidence of faith. Works actually justify. James is speaking about works growing out of faith. If works of faith are not a part of our justification, then it is hard to understand why James would say, as he does, that "Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar?" (Jas. 2:21). You may remember how Paul said that Abraham was not justified by works but by faith. Paul means that Abraham was not justified by keeping the Old Testament law, while James means that Abraham was justified by doing a work that grew out of his faith in God.” Catholic.com