How to Become Catholic

Order of Christian Initiation for Adults (OCIA)

Whether you are just starting to explore the Catholic faith or have been considering becoming Catholic for a while, we are here to walk with you on your journey of faith.

Membership in the Catholic Church is constituted by participation in the three Sacraments of Initiation:

  • Baptism
  • Confirmation
  • Eucharist

The normal process to prepare for the reception of these Sacraments is the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA) – a process of spiritual and educational formation that has been handed down to us from the early Church.

Who participates in OCIA?
  • Unbaptized Adults: The OCIA serves unbaptized adults, who, upon hearing the Gospel message and receiving formation in the Christian way of life, choose to become followers of Christ by receiving the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist in the Catholic Church.
  • Adults Baptized as Christians: The OCIA process also serves adults baptized in a Christian denomination or community who are now interested in living out their Christian life in the Catholic Church. Any baptism that has been performed with water and the Trinitarian formula (invoking the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is considered a valid baptism; therefore baptism is not repeated.  Rather, we welcome these men and women into the Catholic Church through their profession of faith and reception of the remaining sacraments of initiation: Confirmation and Eucharist.
  • Adults Baptized Catholic: Sometimes adults who were baptized in the Catholic Faith were never confirmed or received First Communion. We invite these adults to journey along with us in OCIA. Reception of the Sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist will take place with the Bishop some time before Easter.
What is involved in OCIA?
  • Our Journey begins every September.  We meet once a week on Sundays.  There is plenty of time to ask questions and discern if this is the right step for you.  The OCIA team will offer you information about the Catholic faith as well as time for faith sharing and questions.
  • In November, we celebrate the first ritual which publicly marks a desire to officially enter formation for initiation into the Catholic Church. If you are not ready to take that step, you may continue the journey with us.
  • At the beginning of Lent, (the 40 days prior to Easter), we celebrate another ritual to recognize the progress of being formed in the faith and signals a readiness to bring final preparations for receiving the sacraments.
  • We celebrate the Sacraments and full initiation into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil Service (on Holy Saturday – the evening before Easter Sunday).  However, this is not the end, but rather the beginning of your life as a fully initiated disciple!  We continue to meet, gathering a few times during the Easter Season (the 50 days after Easter) to help launch you into the next step of your faith journey and the rest of your lives as Catholic disciples of Christ.

The Stages of OCIA

Each of the stages of the OCIA journey is marked by formation, sharing, personal choice for continued commitment, then celebration of a rite. The full journey can be unique for each individual, but generally follows the sequence below. If you are not ready, you may continue the journey at your own pace. We will walk alongside you.

Inquiry (Pre-Catechumenate)

In this first stage you are called an Inquirer. This is a time to ask questions, reflect on the answers and decide if you want to continue on this path. Those who wish to continue celebrate the Rite of Acceptance/Welcoming.


This is the primary learning phase of the OCIA process. Class time is spent on a deeper presentation of the Catholic Faith. This phase ends near the time of Lent and is marked by the celebration of the Rite of Election.

Period of Purification and Enlightenment

The focus of the third stage is the individual’s spiritual growth. It coincides with the season of Lent where all the people of the Church are preparing for the joy of Easter. The phase ends with the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil.


You are now a full contributing member of the Catholic Church! During the Season of Easter you are known as a neophyte, meaning ‘new plant’. You are encouraged to nourish and grow your faith to help it take root in the community, just as a seedling in a new garden must be watered and fertilized to produce its harvest.

For those individuals seeking to join the Catholic Church a weekly program of instruction and prayer is held on Sundays. Typically, people wishing to become Catholic will be baptized (if not already baptized) and receive their First Holy Communion and Confirmation at the Easter Vigil. For more information contact Marty Smith at