Order of Christian Initiation for Adults (O.C.I.A.)
Adults inquiring into the Roman Catholic faith are invited to attend classes taught by Deacon Ed Pruet on Sundays from 9:45-10:45 am. Becoming Catholic is one of the most profound and joyous experiences of life and requires a sprit of discernment.
The process begins with an appointment with Father Gerald Holloway to discuss the individual faith journey.
Adults are brought into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church through reception of three sacraments of Christian initiation which are Baptism, Communion, and Confirmation. Christian baptism of other faiths is recognized by the Catholic Church in this preparation. Baptized adults must also receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation in confession.
The Order of Christian Initiation of Adults is the process by which adults are initiated into the Roman Catholic community. The O.C.I.A. describes a process in which men and women are guided and cared for as they awaken in faith and are gradually introduced to the Catholic way of life.
How does one become Catholic?
Most Catholics are born into Catholic families and gradually come to share in the full sacramental life of the Church. Others, who may have been previously baptized in a non-Catholic Christian Church, have become Catholics after making a solemn profession of faith, being confirmed and sharing Eucharist (Communion) with the Catholic community. And some, never baptized, have been initiated through a process that leads to baptism, confirmation and Eucharist (Communion) at the Church’s celebration. The Catholic Church warmly welcomes new members and tries to provide an appropriate spiritual formation according to each person’s needs. The Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (O.C.I.A.) is the Church’s way of initiating new members. The baptized are referred to as Candidates while the unbaptized are referred to as Catechumens. Christian baptism in a faith other than the Catholic Church is recognized. Adults are asked to provide documentation of baptism however, if no documentation is available, a verbal statement of baptism is accepted.
If I begin, am I obligated to become a Catholic?
There is no obligation to make any kind of commitment nor is there pressure exerted on anyone to become Catholic. We respect the conscience and decision of every inquirer. Because of your association with us, we would hope that you would gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of Catholic beliefs and practices.
How is the Christian initiation of adults implemented?
Every parish is responsible for designing the formation of candidates for initiation according to the guidelines established by the body of bishops of the universal Catholic Church. The process is concerned with the total formation of the person into believing with the Church community (doctrinal formation), living with the Church community (practical formation), praying with the Church community (liturgical formation), and serving with the Church community (apostolic formation).
Who may attend the OCIA?
• Persons who have never been baptized.
• Persons who have been baptized in another Christian faith tradition and are now interested in the Catholic tradition.
• Persons who were baptized in the Catholic tradition but were not raised as Catholics.
Will I need a Sponsor?
Yes. Sponsors must be at least 18 years old & a Catholic in good standing with the Church.
How long does it take to become a Catholic?
The OCIA is a process or preparation for the lifetime commitment that comes with reception into the Church. Consequently, some people will need more time than others to prepare for this. The usual length of preparation for the unbaptized person is four to five months.
What does the OCIA involve?
The O.C.I.A. meets each Sunday morning according to a schedule for year round preparation. Those who have chosen to seek full membership are presented to the parish community at a designated Sunday Mass after they have had time for discernment. This and other Sunday rituals mark the spiritual growth of the candidates as well as express the community’s joy and concern for them.
What topics are discussed?
The sessions cover a broad range of topics because Catholic beliefs encompass the whole fabric of our lives. Topics include Scripture, God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Church history, papacy, Mary, Saints, the problem of evil, sin and reconciliation, conscience and moral decision making, baptism, confirmation, the Mass, anointing of the sick, marriage, ministry, justice and many others. Questions are encouraged and welcomed.
I think I would like to begin but I am still hesitant.....
If there is some concern or reason that you are reluctant to begin the O.C.I.A. process, please call Fr. Gerald Holloway 205-228-8381, to discuss your concerns or situation. If you are married and have been married previously or plan to marry, an appointment must be made to discuss marriage issues with Fr. Holloway. Confidentiality will be respected.