Becoming A Catholic – OCIA (Formerly RCIA)
Order of Christian Initiation of Adults
Catechumens learning more about Church teachings
For all interested in the Catholic faith:
The Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA) is the process for adults who desire to join the Catholic faith and for those seeking more information on the Catholic Church. OCIA can also be a method for Catholics to complete their reception of the initiation sacraments. The manual used in the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults states that the rite is designed for adults “who after hearing the mystery of Christ proclaimed, consciously and freely seek the living God.” The manual also states when speaking about those in the process “By God’s help they will be strengthened spiritually during their preparation and at the proper time receive the sacraments fruitfully.”
St. John offers OCIA sessions for those who hear the “mystery of Christ’ and “seek the living God.” The overall goal of the sessions offered by St. John is to provide participants with a substantial introduction to the teachings, traditions, and beliefs of the Catholic Church. Our OCIA team will help to inspire the OCIA participants to live an active and faithful Catholic life. St. John offers weekly sessions that explain Catholic doctrine and faith while also addressing other Catholic topics that are current or important to those interested in the Catholic Church. Our OCIA sessions are designed to help each participant encounter Jesus through their study, reflection, and discussion of the Catholic Church.
The OCIA at St. John’s normally starts in September and ends at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. This is the perfect time to join for it is never too early nor too late to inquire about the Catholic faith. The sessions meet every Monday evening at 7:00 p.m. in the parish conference room. There is never any pressure or obligation to actually become Catholic.
Please contact the Parish office at (561) 488-1373 to set up an introductory meeting. This meeting will provide you with more specific information pertaining to the OCIA process.
To search, to belong, to mature, to be nourished, to continue growing, to love and be loved: these and others are fundamental stirrings of the human heart. Our lives are lived in a manner of seeking satisfaction from these very deep hunger throughout the journey of life. OCIA is the experience of discovering that one’s journey is caught up in the mystery of God’s loving plan for all people.
For adults who sense a desire to become members or learn more about the Catholic Church, OCIA is the prayerful manner in which the journey to Catholic Christianity unfolds. Ordinarily, the journey follows the Church’s Liturgical Year and culminates in the Celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection at the Easter Vigil.
Though OCIA has been mistakenly identified as ‘convert classes’ it is the procedure for unbaptized adults and adults of other Christian Churches to become members of the Catholic Church, OCIA deeply touches all aspects of Church life. In short, OCIA is the way we are Church. OCIA is a prayer of the Church that springs from God the Father’s relentless and passionate desire that all respond to the offer of Divine Love in His Son, Jesus Christ, and manifest that love in the power of the Holy Spirit as members of the Body of Christ to the world.
Who can join the OCIA?
You may be wondering, who can be part of the OCIA?
OCIA is for the following persons:
- Anyone interested in exploring the possibility of becoming a Catholic
- Anyone interested in learning more about the Catholic Faith
This would include:
- Someone who has never been baptized.
- Someone who has been baptized in another faith tradition, but who has an interest in the Catholic faith.
- A person who has been baptized a Catholic, but has not received all of their initiation sacraments (Holy Communion and/or the sacrament of Confirmation)
How to Get Started
We enthusiastically welcome you to join us on this spiritual journey. We ask you to call the office for a brief interview. This is not something that obligates you in any way whatsoever. It is intended to help us to better minister to you.
Why do we need an interview?
- To obtain your name, address, etc., so that we can communicate with you.
- To ascertain if you have been validly baptized or not
- To ascertain whether there is a prior marriage, which may require attention should you decide to join the Church.
- To give you a brief overview of the process.
- To become familiar with any particular difficulty you may have
- To explain the role of the Sponsor.
What do I need to know to be an OCIA sponsor?
For adults who are Catholic, OCIA involves a number of ministries such as catechist, hospitality, and sponsor, to name only a few. Many parishioners have found OCIA to be helpful in their own faith journey as they come to join in the prayer and teachings that characterize many gatherings of OCIA. These same parishioners have often commented that OCIA enabled the faith experience to come alive.
The OCIA process requires that every inquirer have a sponsor. Many times, the inquirer does not know any Catholics. The OCIA always needs sponsors for these inquirers of the Catholic faith. Sponsors do not have to know everything about the Church; they are not the catechists for the inquirers but rather are the inquirer’s companions on their journey of faith. Sponsors serve as a representative of the Church and assist the OCIA candidates as they prepare to receive the appropriate initiation sacraments. Sponsors serve as a guide and example for the inquirer. Sponsors introduce the inquirer to the parish and the parish to inquirer by attending Mass, social gatherings, and other events together.
The Church asks that sponsors be present for the candidate at the several rites throughout the process and at as many ORCIA sessions throughout the year as possible.
The OCIA process will help the sponsor grow in faith. In addition to guiding the inquirer on their journey in the faith, the OCIA process also allows the sponsor to, while on their own faith journey, review the teachings of the Church and grow in their love of God, neighbor, and faith!
Requirements for Sponsors
- Must be 16+ years of age, cannot be the parent(s) of the candidate, must be a fully initiated Catholic, living a prayer-filled and faith-filled life, and in good standing with the Catholic Church.
- If you are not a registered parishioner of St. John’s, please ask your pastor to mail us a letter stating that you are in good standing in your parish.
- Attend a session on what it means to be a sponsor during one of the first OCIA sessions.