Interested in learning more about the Catholic faith?
Are you considering becoming Catholic? Do you have a Catholic spouse? Are you marrying a Catholic? Consider the OCIA program at St. Charles.
What is OCIA (formerly “RCIA”)?
OCIA stands for Order of Christian Initiation of Adults. It is the process by which baptized Christians, and those who are not baptized, can learn more about the Catholic faith. During the time spent in OCIA participants will discern if and when they are ready to become Catholic. The OCIA is a process that ministers to both adults and school-age children seeking membership in the Catholic Church.
How long does the process take?
The initiation process has no set beginning or ending date. An individual can join us at any time during the year. Baptized Christians (called candidates) may be received into the Catholic Church throughout the year. Those who are not baptized (called catechumens) are usually received into the Catholic faith on the Easter Vigil. The process can last from several months to more than a year.
Why does the time vary for different people?
The Order itself stresses the need for a living experience of Church as a “People of God” and not just knowledge about the Catholic faith. This is a faith forming process, not a class. The process takes the time to allow the nurturing of the Holy Spirit to deepen the desire within each individual. At St. Charles, we try to meet each person who comes to us where they are – not try to fit him or her into a set number of sessions or requirements.
When does the OCIA group meet?
OCIA meets weekly, fall-spring, in addition to summer Inquiry sessions. Candidates and catechumens attend Mass and are dismissed following the homily for scripture breaking. Catechetical sessions are offered on Tuesday evenings or Sunday mornings.
What about children?
Children older than seven, who have not been baptized, or are baptized in a different faith tradition, or would like to complete their initiation into our faith by celebrating First Eucharist and Confirmation, may participate in the OCIC process for children. The catechesis and formation of children is determined on an individual basis to best suit the needs of each family. This process is determined on an individual basis.
How can I get more involved?
Our Pastoral Associate, Chris Kreger, and Director of Evangelization, Joe Ollier, directs the OCIA process and is assisted by a dedicated team of parishioners who are trained to coordinate the various areas of formation. Many parishioners volunteer in a number of ways to support this team. The following opportunities are available for parishioners who wish to be involved with the OCIA in some way:
- Provide hospitality in the way of greetings and snacks for evening sessions and special event receptions
- Assist with photography for various events
- Organize and provide opportunities for service and justice education
- Accompany candidates as a parish sponsor
- Give a witness talk or presentation at an evening session
- Facilitate Sunday scripture sharing
Since it is the parish community that initiates new members, we welcome parish involvement in the OCIA as well.