If someone is interested in becoming Catholic or has questions about the faith, the Order of Christian Initiation for Adults (OCIA) is a great place to seek answers. Formerly known as the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops changed the name for the process last year.
Here at Our Lady of Hope, we have multiple weekly groups of OCIA meetings throughout the year, and they will be kicking off again this fall.
“We meet once a week for one hour and sometimes a little more, depending on the topic we are talking about,” says Kande Batz, Director of Religious Education. “We encourage the participants to ask whatever questions they may have about our Catholic faith. This is the format for adult people — we have a book guide to cover all the curriculum. We are going to start with new materials for our younger students.”
Fr. Paul and Yvonne Evans run the English classes on Thursdays from 6 to 7:30 p.m., Fr. Juan and Kande lead the Spanish classes on Mondays from 7 to 8 p.m., and Maureen Strange leads the younger students on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
The groups are open for any adults who have not received the Sacraments of Initiation — Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation, or any single one of them.
“Adults have to show their desire to join the Catholic Church community,” Kande says. “The young students have to desire the same, but sometimes it is because parents send them to classes. I truly believe that every Catholic should take OCIA once in their lives because it is a way that we renew our faith and get to know more about what we believe.”
Each year of the program is different depending on the needs of the participants who sign up. Regardless of where they are at in their faith journeys, the program seeks to fill an important need in the parish community for those involved. As Catholics, we are called to evangelize, and this ministry assists in helping fulfill that mission.
“Through the process, our parish is able to provide the preparation for those who want to join the Church but most importantly, to have a personal encounter and relationship with Jesus,” Kande says.
Upon receiving the sacraments, the newly initiated members of our parish are invited to join the community and be part of the mission of the Church. The OCIA facilitators encourage those involved to find how they can give in stewardship — what kinds of talents God has given them so that they can share them in our community.
“This helps the participants to recognize that they belong to a community,” Kande says. “After receiving their sacraments, some of them become lectors, Eucharistic Ministers and get more involved in the parish life, knowing that they belong and that they are important in our parish community.”
The OCIA process is open to anyone interested in coming to the classes or participating as a volunteer.
To learn more about OCIA (formerly RCIA) please reach out to Fr. Paul, Fr. Juan, Yvonne Evans, or Kande Batz.