The Order of Christian Initiation of Adults is the process through which adults discern their call to follow Christ in the Roman Catholic Church. During this time, they will hear the mystery of Christ proclaimed, learn the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church, and have the opportunity to talk with Catholics about their faith journey. At the proper time, they will receive the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist) appropriate for them.
What if I am just curious about certain practices of Catholics or what they believe?
One’s faith journey begins with this curiosity, and the Order of Christian Initiation embraces these questions in its first period: the Precatechumenate. You may be discussing the Faith with Catholics you know – your family, friends, co-workers; attending catechetical sessions is an opportunity to supplement and deepen your understanding without committing to join the Church.
I think I am being called to join the Catholic Church, how do I get started?
Talk to one of the priests here at St. Cecilia or the director of the OCIA program, Deacon Mark O'Loughlin. Then enroll in the catechetical sessions which are held on Tuesday evenings (7:00 p.m.) from September through Pentecost (usually May or early June).
At these sessions, the priests and lay people present the teachings of the Church about God, our relationship with Him, the Sacraments, Catholic liturgies, the hierarchy of the Church, …
May I bring my spouse or friend?
Yes. Your spouse or friend is welcome to attend, but you will not be alone. A member of St. Cecilia Parish will be assigned as your “sponsor” and will be with you throughout the process, to hear your story, answer your questions, share his/her faith journey.
Should I ask a friend or family member to be my sponsor?
At St. Cecilia, we believe that it is important for you to have a rich and well-formed perspective of the Church. It is likely you are already discussing the Church with your family and friends, and you may have someone in mind to accompany you on your spiritual journey and sponsor your entry into the Church. Because it is important that your sponsor be an active, participating, knowledgeable member of the Catholic Church, we are happy to help you decide if your friend or family member is best suited in this role, or if they continue to personally support you in addition to a sponsor that we match you with from the parish.
If I enroll in the catechetical sessions, am I bound to join the Church?
No. You must freely and consciously accept God’s call. The Holy Spirit will lead you. The OCIA process is of no specific duration and there is no pressure for you to make a decision.
There are various steps of commitment in the OCIA. Each is marked by a liturgical rite where you will state your intention to the people and they will accept your decision to go forward. Prior to each rite, you will discuss your situation privately with one of the priests and together come to a conclusion as to whether or not you should proceed or delay entering the next period.
The entire parish will be supporting you with prayer and your sponsor, OCIA team members, and others will guide you.
When and how do I become Catholic?
Usually, at the Easter Vigil (the night before Easter). If you have not been baptized in a Christian tradition, you will receive that Sacrament as well as be confirmed and receive the Eucharist (Holy Communion) for the first time.
If you have been baptized in Christian tradition other than the Catholic Church, you will renew your Baptismal Promises and make a profession of faith in all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God. The Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist will be conferred on you.
If you have been baptized as a Catholic, but have not been confirmed or received Holy Communion, you will receive those Sacraments at the Easter Vigil. (Note that if you have made your first Holy Communion, but have not been confirmed, the Bishop will confirm you at a Diocesan liturgy)
How much does it cost?
There is no fee associated with OCIA.
How can I get more information?
Contact the Director of the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults, Deacon Mark O'Loughlin at firstname.lastname@example.org, to begin the process of inquiry or talk to one of the priests.