Christian Initiation

The Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA) is a process in which individuals who have reached the age of reason (about seven years old) explore becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ as a Catholic Christian. 


In the process, individuals learn the beliefs, practices, and doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, and they experience Catholic living in the community they wish to enter.


This process of understanding the Catholic Faith is  a training period for the whole of Christian life in the form of an apprenticeship process.


Because the OCIA is a personal journey, there is no set length for the process.  Most individuals travel through the process in about a year but some prefer to delay their decision for a while longer, possibly as long as three years.  Others, already one with the community through baptism (either in the Catholic tradition or through another faith tradition) may be ready sooner.  The process and it's ritual adapt to the needs of the individual.


Through the OCIA,  the Catholic community welcomes individuals who have expressed a desire to examine that community, with the intention of possibly joining it.  These individuals are embraced by the Catholic community and become a vital part of it.  By Church law, a catechumen (an unbaptized person under study) is considered so important that they are entitled to a Catholic marriage or a Catholic funeral even prior to initiation.




The Parish Faith Community is the most important part of faith formation in the OCIA process.  It is the community of faith that identifies, invites and welcomes those seeking a deeper understanding of God, Jesus and the Catholic faith tradition.  It is the community that welcomes, accompanies, prays for, and provides the Christian witness for candidates and catechumens.

  • Sponsors:  members of the local community who are chosen to accompany the individual through the initial period of conversion.

  • Godparents:  accompany the individual through the final stage of the OCIA and continue as a companion with the individual throughout life.

  • Catechists:  meet with catechumens (the unbaptized) and candidates (already baptized) to share faith, pray the scriptures, and share in the Catholic tradition  in both formal and informal settings.

  • Hospitality:  coordinates and extends the hospitality of the parish community at the various celebrations, parish functions and regular meetings.

  • Communications:  provides the vital link between the parish community, individuals in the process, sponsors, godparents and team members.

  • Prayer Partners:  remember participants in the process through the active ministry of prayer. This is an outstanding ministry for individuals who are homebound.

  • Outreach:  individuals are needed to direct the concrete expressions of charity and service of participants and help them discern how they can best serve the larger community.

Anyone who may be interested in becoming part of this exciting OCIA process is invited to contact Maria Clay, Director of Faith Formation at (513)641-3176 ext.163 or to discuss involvement.