Order of Christian Initiation for Adults (OCIA)
Q: Are you baptized, but never received any formal religious education?
Q: Are you unbaptized and have a need for spirituality in your life?
Q: Are you married to a Catholic and want to share in his or her faith?
Q: Are you interested in learning more about the Catholic Church?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then OCIA may be the place for you. The first step in the OCIA process is called Inquiry. This is where you can ask questions and learn about the Catholic community and the Gospel values by which we try to live. Our Inquiry Sessions begin on Sundays at 9:00 AM in September in the Parish Center. Please join us. There is no commitment. If you are interested in the Inquiry Session please contact the OCIA Coordinator, Deacon John McMullen (812-476-3061).
Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming Catholic
Q: How does one become Catholic?
A: Most Catholics are born into Catholic families and gradually come to share in the full sacramental life of the Church. Others, who were baptized in a non-Catholic Christian faith tradition or were never baptized, are fully initiated into the sacramental life of the Church through the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA), which begins with the process of Inquiry.
Q: What is inquiry?
A: Conversion is a gradual process – a faith journey. In the journey of becoming Catholic, the first formal step is the Inquiry stage. Inquiry Sessions are held on Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m. in the Parish Center beginning in September. Here, we share stories about the Catholic faith, answer questions about why Catholics do the things they do, and provide an introduction into parish life.
Q: If I begin, am I obligated to become a Catholic?
A: No. There is no obligation nor is there pressure exerted on anyone to become Catholic. By participating in the Inquiry Sessions we hope you will gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of Catholic beliefs and practices.
Q: Who may attend inquiry sessions?
A: Anyone who wants to learn more about the Catholic Christian faith – anyone baptized, unbaptized, or any baptized as a Catholic who was not fully initiated into the Church. Those who wish to be fully initiated into the Catholic Church may choose to do so after inquiry and discernment.
Q: What happens at OCIA Sessions?
A: The format includes prayer, sharing, background on Catholic tradition & teachings. In addition to the weekly sessions, there are rituals for some of the participants which take place at Sunday mass. The OCIA process is coordinated by a team of parishioners. Handouts are distributed, videos are shown, reference material is recommended and guest speakers lead the sessions. There are no tests.
If following Inquiry, a person decides to pursue the process of becoming Catholic, he or she enters the catechumenate; unbaptized persons in the catechumenate are called catechumens. The catechumenate provides a structure for the proclamation of the Gospel, catechesis (passing on of the teachings of the Church), public and private prayer, spiritual direction, the observance of the feasts, fasts, Sundays and seasons of the Church calendar, direct contact with members of the parish community, and participation in the work of the Church for justice and peace. During this time, each catechumen is paired with a sponsor who can serve as a spiritual companion and offer support and encouragement. The sponsor is already Catholic.
Through the various rites of the catechumenate, the Church marks a person's journey to full membership. These rites reflect his or her spiritual growth and the community's loving concern. The climax of the catechumenate process is the celebration of the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist, usually at the Easter Vigil, followed by a period for reflection on the sacraments and for integration into the life and mission of the Church.