The Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA)


The Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA) is the process for adults who desire to join the Catholic faith and for those seeking more information on the Catholic Church.  OCIA can also be a method for Catholics to complete their reception of the initiation sacraments.  The manual used in the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults states that the rite is designed for adults “who after hearing the mystery of Christ proclaimed, consciously and freely seek the living God.” The manual also states when speaking about those in the process “By God’s help they will be strengthened spiritually during their preparation and at the proper time receive the sacraments fruitfully.”

Who is OCIA for? 

  • Non-Catholics who want to find out more about the Catholic Faith
  • Those who want to join the Catholic Church through Baptism, or Profession of Faith
  • Those who were baptized Catholic as infants but never received religious education, Confirmation, or First Eucharist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Must I make a commitment to Catholicism to participate in this program?

Eventually, maybe. We realize that many people are searching and need to know more about the Church before they make such a commitment. We also realize that Catholicism is not for everyone. We ask no firm commitment until the beginning of Lent.

What kind of commitment am I making?

By joining the OCIA process, we ask that you would make a two-fold commitment -- to the process itself and to having an open heart and mind.  Throughout the process, there are weekly classes, various rites (Church services/celebrations), and Mass attendance.  As such, we are asking you to commit to these regular meetings, which may mean giving up something for a time that may be in conflict with our meetings.  Know that the sacrifice would be for a limited time and that it will be worth the effort.

What personal information must I provide to the OCIA Team and to American Martyrs Church?

We will need your religious background information and a copy of your baptismal record or certificate, if it exists.  Finally, we will ask you questions about you -- who you are, where you are from, your interests, what brought you here.  These help us get to know you so we can truly help you through this process. In addition, we will need to completely understand your marital history so we can determine if there is a need for an annulment or convalidation.

I was baptized a Methodist, Baptist, etc.  Must I be re-baptized in order to join the Catholic Church?

No! There is only one Baptism. Candidates seeking full Communion within the Catholic Church will not be baptized again. They will simply make a Profession of Faith and receive the Sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation.

Where can I obtain my baptismal record or certificate?

Please call the church where you were baptized, as nearly all churches archive their baptismal records.  If the church does not exist anymore, or the record/certificate is irretrievable, then a copy of some kind of documentation of your baptism (i.e., a program from the baptism, pictures, a page from a family bible that shows the date and church of the baptism) will suffice.  If truly nothing exists, then a letter from a witness detailing the event will normally be accepted.

What if I cannot make it to every class, or to every other scheduled meeting?

While we know that life circumstances can intrude during this process, it is absolutely essential that you make every attempt to be present for all classes and all scheduled activities.  If for some reason, you cannot be present, please contact us prior to the class or activity.  We will make available material you miss.