O.C.I.A. or Order of Christian Initiation for Adults is a process for people who would like to know more about the Roman Catholic faith. Those who would like to receive the Sacraments of Initiation, that is, Baptism, Confirmation and Communion. It is also for those who desire to be received in full communion to the Catholic Church or who would like to convert to the Catholic Church.

The OCIA process has several distinct stages. These Catholic OCIA stages are a good model of faith development itself.

Inquiry: the initial period before you decide to enter the Catholic Church. You’re asking questions and checking it out but aren’t yet ready to commit.

Catechumenate: those who decide to enter the Church and are being trained for a life in Christ are called catechumens, an ancient name from the early Church. In this stage, you’re developing your faith and are being “catechized”—learning catechism, or the basic points about Catholic faith and life.

Purification and preparation: The Church will help you focus and intensify your faith as you prepare you to commit your life to Christ and be received into the Church at Easter. If you’re following the RCIA process, you’ll go through a beautiful series of Gospel-based meditations during Lent, which is the time frame of this period.

Initiation itself, the culmination of the whole process! You’re received into the Church during the Easter Vigil Mass, where you’ll receive the sacraments of initiation: baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist. (If you’ve already been baptized, you won’t be baptized again. You will be considered a candidate in completion of the sacraments of initiation)

Mystagogy: after reception into the Church at Easter, this period lets you reflect and learn more about the mysteries of the Mass and the Sacraments that you now participate in fully.

Are you interested in learning more about Catholicism? Do you have friends or acquaintances who are questioning what Catholicism is all about? Do you have Catholic family members or friends who have fallen away from the Faith? Invite them to investigate the truth about Catholicism by joining the RCIA group here at St. Juliana. Our group meets once a week for the length of the school year, beginning in late august. Practicing Catholics are encouraged to join as well – you are guaranteed to learn things about the Church you never knew! The program is open for adults 18 and over.

Contact the Office of Faith Formation at 561-833-1278 for more information.

Prior to beginning the OCIA process, an individual comes to some knowledge of Jesus Christ, considers his or her relationship with Jesus Christ and is usually attracted in some way to the Catholic Church. This period is known as the Period of Evangelization and Precatechumenate. For some, this process involves a long period of searching; for others, a shorter time. Often, contact with people of faith and a personal faith experience lead people to inquire about the Catholic Church. After a conversation with a priest, or RCIA director, the person, known as an “inquirer,” may seek acceptance into the Order of Catechumens, through the Rite of Acceptance. During this Rite, the inquirer stands amidst the parish community and states that he or she wants to become a baptized member of the Catholic Church. The parish assembly affirms this desire and the inquirer becomes a Catechumen.

The Period of the Catechumenate can last for as long as several years or for a shorter time. It depends on how the person is growing in faith, what questions they encounter along the way, and how God leads them on this journey. During this time, the Catechumens consider what God is saying to them in the Scriptures, what changes in their life they need to make to respond to God’s inspiration, and what Baptism in the Catholic Church means. When a Catechumen and the priest and the parish team working with him or her believes the person is ready to make a faith commitment to Jesus in the Catholic Church, the next step is the request for baptism and the celebration of the Rite of Election. Even before the Catechumens are baptized, they have a special relationship to the Church.

The Rite of Election includes the enrollment of names of all the Catechumens seeking baptism at the coming Easter Vigil. Typically, on the first Sunday of Lent, the Catechumens, their sponsors and families gather at the cathedral church. The Catechumens publicly express their desire for baptism to the diocesan bishop. Their names are recorded in a book and they are called the Elect

The days of Lent are the final Period of Purification and Enlightenment leading up to the Easter Vigil. Lent is a period of preparation marked by prayer, study, and spiritual direction for the Elect, and prayers for them by the parish communities. The Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation takes place during the Easter Vigil Liturgy on Holy Saturday when the Elect receives the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist. Now the person is fully initiated into the Catholic Church.

As a newly initiated Catholic, they continue their formation and education continue in the Period of the Post Baptismal Catechesis, which is also called Mystagogy. This period continues at least until Pentecost. During the period the newly baptized members reflect on their experiences at the Easter Vigil and continue to learn more about the Scriptures, the Sacraments, and the teachings of the Catholic Church. In addition they reflect on how they will serve Christ and help in the Church’s mission and outreach activities.

St. Juliana’s OCIA process is open to anyone who is interested in knowing more about the Catholic Faith. If you are not yet sure whether you want to become Catholic, you are still welcome to participate as you make your decision.

People from various religious backgrounds join the OCIA. Some have been baptized in another Christian denomination and some have not. Some have been practicing members of a Christian denomination for years and some have had little or no religious background. Some are already Catholic but are seeking a greater understanding of our Faith and have been uncatechized.

The OCIA involves lots discernment, prayer, discussions, to help shape our lives. There are various stages in prayerful ceremonies (called “Rites”) and most importantly, using all of these experiences to build and grow in a strong relationship with God.

During the beginning of the Fall Season we meet every Tuesday night from 7-8:30 pm. Everything is presented according to Christ’s revelation as handed down to us in the written form of Sacred Scripture and the oral form of Sacred Tradition. Both Scripture and Tradition come to us through Christ’s appointed Teacher for all time: the Church. This complete teaching and reflection of Scripture, Tradition and the Church is called the Deposit of Faith.

Tuesday night meetings include a presentation and discussion, questions and answers concerning different aspects of the Deposit of Faith. We focus on the Sunday Gospels, team members, parishioners witnesses of the faith, and lesson plans as our guides through Catholic Church Teaching.

Coming into full communion with the Catholic Church describes the process for entrance into the Catholic Church for already baptized Christians. In most cases, these individuals make a profession of faith but are not baptized again. To prepare for this reception, the people, who are called Candidates, usually participate in a formation program to help them understand and experience the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church. Although some preparation may be with Catechumens preparing for baptism, the preparation for Candidates is different since they have already been baptized and committed to Jesus Christ, and many have also been active members of other Christian communities. The Candidates may be received into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil or at another Sunday during the year depending on pastoral circumstances and readiness of the Candidate.

What is the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday like?

The Easter Vigil takes place on Holy Saturday, the evening before Easter Sunday. This is the night that “shall be as bright as day” as proclaimed by the Exsultet, an ancient church hymn as we joyfully anticipate Christ’s Resurrection The Holy Saturday Liturgy begins with the Service of Light, which includes the blessing of the new fire and the Paschal candle which symbolizes Jesus, the Light of the World. The second part consists of the Liturgy of the Word with a series of Scripture readings. After the Liturgy of the Word, the Catechumens are presented to the parish community, who pray for them with the Litany of the Saints. Next, the priest blesses the water, placing the Easter or Paschal candle into the baptismal water. Those seeking Baptism then renounce sin and profess their faith after which they are baptized with the priest pronouncing the words, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

After the Baptism the newly baptized are dressed in white garments and presented with a candle lighted from the Paschal Candle. They are then Confirmed by the priest or bishop who lays hands on their heads, and invokes the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. He then anoints them with the oil called Sacred Chrism. The Mass continues with the newly baptized participating in the general intercessions and in bringing gifts to the altar. At Communion, the newly baptized receive the Eucharist, Christ’s Body and Blood, for the first time.

What does the white robe symbolize?

The newly baptized are dressed in a white garment after baptism to symbolize that they are washed clean of sin and that they are called to continue to walk in this newness of life.

What does the candle symbolize?

A small candle is lit from the Easter candle and given to the newly baptized as a reminder to them always to walk as children of the Light and to be the light of Christ to the world.

What does the Sacred Chrism symbolize?

The Sacred Chrism, or oil, is a sign of the gift of the Holy Spirit being given to the newly baptized. It is also a sign of the close link between the mission of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, who comes to the recipient with the Father in Baptism.

Jacqueline Moyeno who is the Director of OCIA and usually makes the presentations each week, assisted by the OCIA team composed of people from the parish who have already been through the RCIA process.

Our Pastor, Rev. Ducasse François, also joins us actively in making presentations. We also have “guest presenters” from time to time, other parish priests, seminarians, deacons, or members of the parish.

Prior to the Rite of Election, the Catechumen may choose one or two godparents, who will accompany the Catechumen on the day of Election, at the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation, and during the Period of Mystagogy. They are called to show the Catechumens a good example of the Christian life, sustain them in moments of hesitancy and anxiety, bear witness, and guide their progress in the baptismal life.

  • Must have received the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist
  • If a married person, must have the Sacrament of Marriage
  • Sponsors must model Christian life

Sponsors are to be chosen early in the process by the time the first Rite is celebrated (Rite of Acceptance). If you cannot choose a sponsor, one will be appointed to you.

Call the Office for Faith Formation, Director Jackie Moyeno at 561-833-1278, she will help you get started. Registration begins as early as Mid-Spring.

No. If you have been baptized in water with a formula considered valid in the Catholic Church (“I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”), you will enter the Catholic Church by making a “Profession of Faith”.

Generally a person will join the OCIA during the Summer / early Fall of one year and become Catholic at Easter time the next year. Once in a while this time frame changes according to the needs of the person.

That’s your decision and you will not be pressured to become Catholic. Some people learn about Catholicism for a few years before deciding to become Catholic and some never choose to do so. Regardless of your decision, you will be welcome here at St. Juliana.

Completely! For the better. When we give God control over our lives He takes it and brings us joy like we’ve never known!

Still Have Questions?

Contact Jackie Moyeno at (561) 833-1278.

She is the Director of OCIA and will help you get started!