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.
Classes begin in September 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 RCIA team of dedicated parishioners. Our 2022-23 team, led by our Director of Adult Faith formation Don Fontana, included Mary Ann Lecci, Tom Smith, Bill Dotson and Patti McKay.
For more information, call our parish office at (412) 531-5964. Our Pastor, Fr. Michael Caridi is eager to speak with you about our RCIA program!
Have questions about the Catholic Faith? These resources can help you find the answers.
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United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
RCIA is now called OCIA. During their November '21 U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meetings, the U.S. Bishops changed the name of the Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA) to Order of Christian Initiation for Adults (OCIA). This name change reflects the Catholic Church's desire to return to the most accurate and precise English translations from previous Latin texts.