There’s a real beauty to being raised in the Catholic Church and continuing to practice the faith from childhood to adulthood. But there’s also beauty in finding the Catholic faith as an adult and going through the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults process, or OCIA. Formerly known as RCIA, our parish’s OCIA process is the same.
This past Easter, we welcomed three people into the Catholic faith. Tanya Barbero has served as Director of Faith Formation and Youth Ministry for about a year. This was the first group she’s accompanied through OCIA, and she loved the process.
“It was sustaining for me,” she says. “I enjoyed the eagerness and hunger from those making a choice to follow the Lord and become Catholic. They encouraged me to continue to grow deeper in my faith and closeness to the Lord. And watching God work in the lives of His people is like witnessing many little miracles.”
OCIA is open to anyone, age 7 through adult, who wants to become Catholic. People can begin the process anytime during the year. Typically, there are two groups of people who participate in OCIA; the un-baptized and baptized non-Catholic Christians. For those un-baptized, celebration of the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and First Eucharist is held at the Easter Vigil. Reception of baptized Christians into Full Communion of the Catholic Church can be done throughout the year. Our sessions are in-person with the availability of online resources to augment our teaching.
“When someone comes in to inquire about OCIA, God has already been working in their lives,” Tanya says. “We are just facilitators of the next steps.”
OCIA is divided into four stages, each of which is very important. The first is the inquiry stage, where a person learns more about Jesus and the Catholic Church. Second, is the catechumenate stage, where a person is going through actual catechesis to learn more about the Catholic faith. Next is the preparation for the sacraments — a rebirth of sorts. Last is the fourth stage, which involves reflecting on the sacraments a person has received during the Easter season.
Catechumens have a sponsor that walks with them through the process. Tanya would love to have people she can call on to serve as a sponsor. Many people who go through OCIA don’t know anyone who is Catholic.
Tanya wants to thank everyone who helped her through her first year of leading OCIA — they made all the difference.
“The Lord took care of making sure what was needed was done,” Tanya says. “People would help when I needed help, even those who were not part of a team.”
If you are considering becoming Catholic, Tanya encourages you to consider going through the OCIA process.
“When God speaks, take time to listen,” she says. “Feel comfortable to come forward and inquire.”
In addition, Tanya hopes to get a core team together for OCIA.
For more information on getting involved, contact Tanya Barbero at email@example.com or 808-244-4148.