What Is the RCIA/OCIA?
Every Holy Saturday, at the Easter Vigil Celebration, we welcome new members to the Catholic Church through the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA) (formerly Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults or RCIA). The Easter celebration is a perfect backdrop for those seeking initiation into the Catholic Church to celebrate the sacraments for the first time with the community of faith gathered.
RCIA/OCIA is not a program or a class on the Catechism or a crash course on Catholic teachings. Rather, RCIA/OCIA is a process of discernment and conversion surrounded by ritual celebrations. Through this process of RCIA/OCIA, those discerning membership come to know God in a new light, through the eyes of the Catholic Church and they grow in their understanding and appreciation for the teaching and guidance given by the Catholic Church. RCIA/OCIA is only the beginning steps (or another step) toward a deeper faith in and relationship with God. There is always so much more to learn, for all of us.
Who Can Be a Part of the RCIA/OCIA?
- The RCIA/OCIA is designed for those who have NOT been baptized and seek to join the community of believers. These men and women are called “Catechumens.”
- The RCIA/OCIA is designed for those who HAVE been baptized in another Christian faith, but are seeking to join the Catholic Church. These men and women are called “Candidates.”
- The RCIA/OCIA is designed for those who HAVE been baptized in the Catholic faith but who have never been fully initiated through the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist. These men and women are also called “Candidates.”
- The RCIA/OCIA process has been adapted to meet the needs of children who are of the age of reason (age 7 years and above) and who are seeking the sacraments, as well. Just like the adults, these young people may have been baptized in another faith community (Candidates) or may not have celebrated baptism at all (Catechumen).
When Do Classes Take Place & How Often Do They Meet?
- Throughout the summer and early fall, men and women who are interested in more information about the Catholic Church are invited to be a part of the INQUIRY STAGE of RCIA/OCIA. This stage is designed to provide some initial information and to give searchers the opportunity to ask questions. Inquiry sessions meet WEDNESDAY EVENINGS from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall.
- In the fall, we will invite those who feel ready to move toward a more serious commitment to begin the second stage of the RCIA/OCIA process, the CATECHUMENATE. We begin this second stage with a ritual at Mass. Candidates and Catechumens are given a sponsor who will walk this journey with them, support them, nurture them and pray for them. At this point, the process moves to Sunday mornings. We invite candidates, catechumen, sponsors and their families to sit together at the 9:00 Mass. After we have all heard the Scripture readings and listened to the homily, the candidates/catechumen are sent with a teacher to break open those Scripture readings and be fed by the Word of God. At the conclusion of Mass, the sponsors and any interested family members join the group for a period of extended catechesis or a lesson. We conclude our Sunday morning sessions at 11:30 a.m. The Sunday morning sessions meet weekly through the Easter Celebration and until the Sunday of Pentecost (50 days after Easter).
- The first Sunday of Lent (usually in late February) is the next opportunity to make a deeper commitment, for those in discernment. It is at this time that candidates/catechumen are presented to the Bishop as those with the intention to join the Catholic Church. It is at this point that we begin the period of ENLIGHTENMENT AND PURIFICATION. The weeks leading up to Easter are a time for deeper prayer, reflection, examination and reconciliation.
- All the preparation culminates at the Easter Vigil where we baptize those seeking baptism and celebrate the sacraments of Confirmation and First Eucharist with the new members to the Catholic Church.
What Do I Do If I Want to become Catholic or Know Someone Who Does?
- The first recommendation is that you (or your friend/family member) come and worship with us at Mass on the weekends. If it is a friend or family member that you know, please invite them to join you at Mass. Coming to Mass alone when you are not sure what is going on can be a pretty daunting experience for a new person.
- Call Carol Ann at the Parish Office (812-477-8923) and set up an initial meeting. This interview is designed so that the parish can best fit your needs throughout the process.
- Attend Inquiry sessions on Wednesday nights. You may bring a friend or family member to these sessions – everyone is welcome. Again, if you are referring a friend or family member, it would be good to join them at these sessions, at least until they are comfortable.
I Am Catholic & Would Like to Support or Be Involved with the RCIA/OCIA--What Can I Do?
This ministry is a ministry of the whole parish and your prayers and support are essential to the process and to the candidates/catechumen. By your participation in the Liturgy and in the parish, you model a living faith for these men and women that can never be taught in a classroom. By your welcoming spirit, you foster a sense of hospitality and acceptance that is vital to this process. Please continue to model your faithful enthusiasm to a life lived in the Catholic Church and please continue to pray for all those who are seeking a closer relationship with God.
Other Opportunities for Involvement in RCIA/OCIA
Each candidate/catechumen will need a sponsor (the children are given journey partners) who will walk with them on this journey. Sponsors attend the weekly sessions and support their candidate/catechumen throughout the week.
Each week, members of parish community provide refreshments and hospitality to those who attend the sessions. This is an excellent way for members of our parish community to get to know and support those who are becoming Catholic.
RCIA Hospitality: Is breakfast or breakfast foods your specialty? Do you like to use food to make people feel warm and welcome? If you can answer yes to either of these questions, then RCIA/OCIA Hospitality may be a perfect ministry for you. Each Sunday from October through April, Holy Rosary parishioners provide morning refreshments for those men and women preparing to become Catholic. Parishioners can volunteer for ONE Sunday or for as many as they would like. There are some weeks that we just have donuts and coffee and others that we provide a full breakfast. We anticipate feeding about 40 people each Sunday.
SIGN UP: bit.ly/OCIAhospitality or contact Carol Ann at [email protected] or 812-477-8923
We continually look for prayer partners for each candidate/catechumen as well as for the catechetical team.
Care of the children of candidates/catechumens helps parents feel at ease while they are on their journeys during RCIA/OCIA & Faith Sharing Groups on Sundays, 9-11:30AM.
Past Preparations for the Sacraments
Easter is an exciting time of year! For example, in 2019 we had 12 baptisms at the Easter Vigil (10 of which will be fully initiated into the Catholic Church), 5 people being received into the Church, 5 older youth and Adults making First Communion and Confirmation, and 63 children celebrating First Communion on April 28 and May 5. Please continue to pray for all of those seeking a closer relationship with Jesus in the Sacraments. Below is a picture from the Rite of Election in March 2019.