St. Matthew > Becoming Catholic > Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA)

Considering becoming Catholic?

Are you, or is someone you know, considering becoming Catholic?

The Order of Christian Initiation of Adults, commonly called the OCIA, is an invitation to encounter Christ through a new or renewed interest in Catholic prayer, liturgy, and study. By engaging in the prayer and liturgical life offered by the Catholic Church and through studying those truths revealed by Christ and handed down by the Apostles and their successors, participants are invited more deeply into a relationship with God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA) is the typical way that those who are interested begin learning more about the Catholic Church, its prayers, teachings, and spirituality. It is an introduction to the Catholic understanding of God and creation and to the relationship into which God invites each of us, both with Him and with one another.

Adult Catholics who have not yet received the Sacrament of Confirmation or who simply want to learn more about their faith may also benefit from participating in OCIA.

OCIA is held on Wednesday nights from 7:00-8:30pm starting on September 11th this year. It will be held in the banquet room, which is number 3a on the church map below. Additionally, the OCIA 2024-2025 schedule is posted here. Most of the dates are set; however, some may be subject to change. If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to reach out. You can email us by using the link below.

Interested in joining OCIA this September?

Consider attending one of our OCIA Inquiry nights! The same information will be shared at each night, so come to the one that is most convenient for you:

  • June 19, 2024, 7 pm   Banquet Room
  • July 24, 2024, 7 pm   Banquet Room
  • Aug 12, 2024, 7pm     Banquet Room

We will share the schedule, tell you about the program and answer any questions that you have.
Don’t know where the Banquet Room is? You can find a map of the campus here.

Interested in volunteering with the OCIA this year as a sponsor or team member?

Consider attending one of our OCIA Sponsor Inquiry nights! The same information will be shared at each night, so come to the one that is most convenient for you:

  • August 7, 2024, 7 pm   Banquet Room
  • Aug 12, 2024, 7pm       Banquet Room

Can’t come to one of these nights? Reach out to Rachel Willoughby and let her know you are interested.

What happens at OCIA?

Participants in the OCIA program will be invited to participate in the life of prayer, worship, and personal conversion which characterizes the life of a Catholic Christian. Participants will also be invited to attend a series of classes. In these classes we will share the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church and their origin in Sacred Scripture and Tradition.

Upon completion of this program, candidates will be better prepared to make the decision to come into full communion with the Catholic Church. This reception often takes place with the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation on the evening before Easter Sunday at the Easter Vigil Mass. Should you not be ready to receive the sacraments at the Easter vigil for any reason, we understand. We can continue the conversation and walk with you as you prayerfully discern.

The Sacraments of Initiation are Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion. If you have already been validly baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit through the pouring of water or through immersion in water, then you will not be baptized again. If you have not yet been baptized, you will be invited to receive all three Sacraments of Initiation when you are ready to become Catholic.

Who is the OCIA for?

The OCIA at Saint Matthew is for all adults seeking to deepen their knowledge and love of God through learning more about the Catholic faith and participating in the prayer life at Saint Matthew. It is for those adults who are simply wanting an introduction to the faith and for those who are convicted that they would like to become Catholic. It is also the primary means of preparing to receive the sacrament of Confirmation as an adult Catholic.

  • Inquirers
    • Some inquirers are not yet sure that they would like to become Catholic, but are interested in learning more. Some come convicted that they would like to become Catholic and are filling in gaps of knowledge.
    • Catechumens are inquirers who are not yet baptized. Should they decide that they would like to pursue the sacraments of initiation, they will begin with Baptism, then proceed with Confirmation and Holy Communion.
    • Candidates are those inquirers who have been baptized in another Church or ecclesial communion and are now seeking to become Catholic.
  • Catholic Adults Seeking Confirmation
    • Some Catholics are baptized in the Catholic faith, but for a variety of reasons have not yet been Confirmed. If you are an adult seeking the sacrament of Confirmation, you are in the right place.

Some people come having done lots of reading and research and had lots of in depth conversations before attending OCIA.
Some come with very little prior knowledge, simply acting on the recommendation of a close friend or family member.

Whether you know little or lots, you are welcome. The OCIA is a formation program for head and heart. God invites us deeper into our knowledge and love of Him each day and the OCIA is an opportunity to grow in relationship both through learning about and prayerful encounter with the living God. We are all called to continue to grow in relationship with God every day.

When does the OCIA meet?

Throughout the year, we will meet once a week on Wednesdays from 7-8:30 from September through Easter. A schedule for the upcoming year is available at the top of this page.

Sometimes there are special events on the weekends. These are included in the schedule so that you can plan ahead.

Sponsors - what are they and when do I need one?

  • A sponsor is someone who will walk with you as you go through the OCIA. A sponsor is a Catholic who has already received the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and first Holy Communion and who actively participates in their Catholic parish and is pursuing a lively prayer life,
  • Ideally a sponsor is able to attend the OCIA sessions with you so that they can help you enter into conversation with the material and find answers to questions that arise. A sponsor does not need to know the answer to every question, but rather be able to help direct you to a resource that can help.
  • If you know a Catholic who has been encouraging you to pursue the Catholic faith, this might be a good person to invite to be your sponsor.
  • If you don’t already know a Catholic who can serve as your sponsor, we can help you find a sponsor. Many of our parishioners are happy to meet new inquirers and walk with them as they learn more about the Catholic faith and prayer life.
  • Your sponsor will be asked to fill out this Sponsor Form.
  • If you are a Catholic who is interested in volunteering as a sponsor, please reach out to Rachel Willoughby.
  • If you have more questions about sponsors, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Do I need to bring anything with me to OCIA?

  • You may want to bring your own pen or pencil. We will provide the other materials, including a Catholic Bible and a Catechism of the Catholic Church.
  • There is no cost to the OCIA.
  • If you have been baptized, we will eventually hope to receive a document from your church of baptism or from someone who can witness to your baptism. Some churches provide a baptismal certificate and keep records. Some churches do not keep any records.

How do my kids get involved?

At Saint Matthew, we offer a companion program for children and teens. Your children or teens would enter this program and prepare for the sacraments with similarly aged children or teens and encounter Christ through prayer and study at a level and in a way more suited to their age and interests. To learn more about these programs or to sign up, reach out to Diane Kiradjieff. You can find out more about children’s faith formation and family faith formation activities on our Faith and Family page.

Make sure to mention that you hope to get your kids involved when you meet with us and we will be happy to provide information about upcoming programs and events.

For information regarding Catholic schools, please see our MACS page.

You may still have lots of questions – that’s what the OCIA is built for. You and any questions you might have are welcome at any of our inquiry nights or when we start our regular weekly meetings in September. You can also email Rachel Willoughby and she will be happy to set up a time to answer any questions you have.

We look forward to meeting you!

Volunteer Opportunities and Commitments

Sponsors to accompany inquirers throughout their time in OCIA and especially during the early days of their Catholic life.

OCIA team members help in a number of ways. Some help organize and facilitate the classes. Some provide hospitality during the classes, helping everyone to feel comfortable and welcome. Some volunteers provide background administrative help or organizational help in preparing for the various rites that the candidates and catechumens will undergo throughout the year.

The time commitment for volunteers is about 2 hours a week. If you’d like to know more or learn how to help, contact Rachel Willoughby.

New to volunteering at St. Matthew? Please read our Safe Environment Policy.

To find out more about anything you’ve read above, contact Rachel Willoughby.