OCIA: Order of Christian Initiation of Adults

Interested in becoming Catholic? You came to the right place!

What is OCIA?

Many adults entering the Catholic Church, or those just thinking about it, follow a process known as the OCIA—the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults.
The OCIA process has several distinct stages: 
  • 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 to commit your life to Christ and be received into the Church at Easter. If you're following the OCIA process, you'll go through a beautiful series of Gospel-based meditations during Lent.
  • Initiation: 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.) At St. Paul of the Cross Parish, First Reconciliation (Confession, Penance) is celebrated the Monday of Holy Week.
  • 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.
(adapted from beginningcatholic.com)

OCIA at Saint Paul of the Cross Parish

Classes begin on September 18th and run through mid-May, meeting from 6:30-8:30 PM on Wednesday evenings. The SEARCH and Symbolon series on FORMED are reviewed and discussed in a group setting with our parish OCIA team of dedicated parishioners. This year our team included Mary Ann Lecci, Tom Smith, Bill Dotson, Patti McKay and Don Fontana who is our Director of Adult Faith Formation.

For more information, call our parish office at (412) 531-5964. Our Pastor, Fr. Michael Caridi is eager to speak with you about our OCIA program! 


Have questions about the Catholic Faith? These resources can help you find the answers.
Get FORMED in the Faith
FORMED offers a complete selection of documentaries, books, movies, bible studies and audio talks on all aspects of the Catholic Faith. St. Paul of the Cross Parish uses many of these resources for adult education classes and sacramental preparation.

Registration is FREE when you sign up with Saint Paul of the Cross Parish! Here's how:
  1. Navigate to FORMED.org
  3. Enter your email address
  4. Find our parish by entering our zip code 15234 into the field.  Click on "St. Paul of the Cross" when it appears. Then click "next". 
  5. Enter your name and email address in the appropriate fields then click on "sign up"
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United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
For additional explanation and information on the RCIA process: Christian Initiation of Adults | USCCB
Beginning Catholic
Additional information about the process of becoming Catholic with answers to common questions, access to Catholic prayers, and Catholic Moral Teaching, all in one place: Starting in the Faith: Catholic RCIA Stages | beginningCatholic.com