Becoming a Catholic – OCIA (formerly RCIA)

Order of Christian Initiation of Adults

Catechumens learning more about Church teachings
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.”

Spring 2022 Cathedral Faith Formation booklet

The Cathedral offers OCIA classes for those who hear the “mystery of Christ’ and “seek the living God.”  The overall goal of the class offered by the Cathedral is to provide participants with a substantial introduction into the teachings, traditions and beliefs of the Catholic Church. Our OCIA will help to inspire the OCIA participants into living an active and faithful Catholic life. The Cathedral offers weekly classes 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 classes are designed to help each participant encounter Jesus through their study, reflection and discussion of the Catholic Church.

The OCIA at the Cathedral is a year round process and new classes have just started.  This is the perfect time to join for it is never too early or too late to inquiry about the Catholic faith.  The class meets every Sunday morning by first attending the 8:00 am Mass as a group for the breaking open of the Word.  This is followed by a weekly subject with final dismissal at 10:45 am.  We break open the Word in St. Michael the Archangel Chapel and have our weekly class in the parish library.  We at the Cathedral are ready to reach out to anyone interested in exploring the possibility of becoming Catholic and to welcome those who wish to become part of our faith community.  There is never any pressure or obligation to actually become Catholic.

Please contact Deacon John Basco at either (318) 221-5296 or deacon@sjbcathedral.org  to set up an introductory meeting.  This meeting will provide you with more specific information pertaining to the OCIA process.

Why OCIA?

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 of these very deep hungers 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 of 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 (Order of Christian Initiation of Adults) 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 the 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 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 no
  • To ascertain whether there is a prior marriage, which may require attention should you decide to join the Church.
  • To determine whether or not you will need nursery service and for how many.
  • To give you a brief overview of the process.
  • To become familiar with any particular difficulty you may have, such as, “Is Sunday morning good or not?”
  • To explain the role of the Sponsor and to get the name, address, telephone number, etc.
  • To get information so that we can prepare nametags and sign-in sheets for the Inquirers, as well as the Sponsors.
  • To provide an opportunity for the Inquirer to ask questions beforehand.

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 experience of faith to come alive.

The OCIA process requires that every inquirer have a sponsor.  Many times the inquirer does not know any Catholics.  The OCIA is always in need of 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 companion on their journey of faith. Sponsors serve as a representative of the Church and assist the OCIA candidate 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 of the ORCIA sessions throughout the year as able.

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 their faith!

Requirements for Sponsors

  • Must be: 16+ years of age, confirmed, living a prayer-filled and faith-filled life and in good standing with the Catholic Church.
  • If 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 class on what it means to be a sponsor during one of the first OCIA classes.

Contact Deacon John Basco at either (318) 221-5296 or deacon@sjbcathedral.org for more information.

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