Becoming Catholic

The OCIA (formerly known as RCIA)

The Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA) is the spiritual journey through which adults become full, active, participating members of the Catholic Church. During this OCIA process, those interested in becoming Catholic attend weekly meetings where the team helps them to grow in their relationship with God, become familiar with Catholic teachings and practices, get acquainted with people in the parish, and get involved in service within the parish. The OCIA team assists people in their decision to become Catholic, as well as Catholics who wish to be renewed and updated in their faith. OCIA team members serve as sponsors and catechists.

Some people become a Catholic gradually. They were baptized as infants, grew up in Catholic homes, received a religious education, and gradually shared in the sacraments of the Church. Other Catholics came to the Church as adults, sometimes already baptized, sometimes having received a religious formation in another faith. They may have been contacted by a Catholic but they probably made the first move by talking to a priest or someone else about the Church. The Church wants to welcome all adults who are interested in the Catholic faith.

For those who think they might wish to become Catholic, the Church’s Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA) provides for the whole process of preparing adults for initiation into the Catholic Church.

The OCIA is a process by which we welcome and prepare adults to enter the Catholic faith. OCIA = Order of Christian Initiation of Adults .

Order = is multi-step process containing a collection of rites that are used and adapted to fit the various circumstances of each seeker.

Christian Initiation = the Sacraments of  Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist, which are celebrated.

Adults = anyone 18 years of age and older.

It is an experience of welcoming and being welcomed, of supporting and being supported, of joining and incorporating. It’s a means of helping an outsider to explore the Church community, while at the same time being a means of helping the Church community to come to know and appreciate the new believer who
seeks to join their community.

The OCIA runs in a yearly cycle, with adults entering the program throughout the year.

OCIA is divided into 4 phases:

Phase one is the Inquiry Period

For some, this phase is an introduction to Christianity, for others it’s exploring a new Christian faith, for still others, it’s being baptized Catholic but never raised in the faith.. During this time we talk and share about God, learning about Jesus in His stories and our stories. We explore your questions about the Catholic church (the Bible, the mass, etc.) Inquiry sessions meet year round.

Phase two is The Catechumenate period

This phase includes presentations on a variety of subjects about the Catholic faith and participation in the parish community.

The OCIA process has combined the efforts of Incarnation & St. Francis of Assisi Parishes since the forming of Our Lady of Light Family. Meeting times and locations have changed.

Phase three is The Spiritual Preparation

This phase, also called the period of Enlightenment, coincides with the season of Lent when all Catholics re-examine their lives and cleanse themselves of what may still stand in the way of living for God. During this time there is emphasis on prayer, and final preparation for those who will celebrate the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist on Holy Saturday.

Phase four is the Period of Post-Sacramental Study

This phase is where we reflect on the sacraments. We learn practical aspects of being Catholic, and explore how to become a real part of parish life at St Francis of Assisi.

Sponsors are not chosen for “what they know”, but because they are people who are willing to walk with others on this journey of faith. Sponsors are traveling companions to the Inquirer going through the RCIA process. Sponsors are friends, companions, and guides along this journey. A sponsor listens to his/her candidate’s faith, questions, and doubts, and shares their own faith experience.

A sponsor does have to be a practicing Catholic and has to have received the Initiation Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. A sponsor comes to the weekly sessions and the special rites with his/her candidate, encourages his/her candidate and is willing to share his/her time and faith.

Sponsors are the link through which candidates become exposed to the various ways in which members of the parish community already serve in some form of ministry.

Sponsors receive ongoing support from the OCIA team and parish community.

We look forward to meeting you and sharing your journey. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Stacy Stang for more information.