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One Community, One Spirit, One Heart

The Order of Christian Initiation for Adults (OCIA)

OCIA Team - Deacon Jim Damitio, James Jones, Fr. Loren, Theresa Collin,
Margaret Lapham and Deacon Larry Fussman.

The Order of Christian Initiation for Adults is for non-Catholics, Catholics who are not Confirmed, and Catholics interested in learning more about the foundation of our beliefs as Catholics. Classes are taught by lay minister, Theresa Collin and offer the opportunity to discover or deepen your relationship with God through time in scripture, study, and prayer. There is no obligation or expectation to join the Catholic Church.

The program usually begins in the Fall, meets weekly, and culminates in a beautiful ceremony with the Sacraments of Initiation celebrated at the Easter Vigil Mass. Weekly classes are held on Mondays from 7:00-9:00pm. 

OCIA is a restoration of the early Church’s baptismal practices, not something new. Documents from the late second century refer to the Catechumenate, or a formal period of instruction that included rituals in which both candidates and the faithful participated. The Catechumenate gradually disappeared during the Middle Ages, but was restored by the Second Vatican Council in 1963. The American bishops made the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults mandatory in all U.S. dioceses as of the First Sunday of Lent, 1988.

OCIA is a four stage process through which adults become Catholic or join in full communion with the Catholic Church.

This process is for you:

  • If you have never been baptized, but desire to belong to a community of believers
  • If you have been baptized in another Christian tradition and want to know more about the Catholic Church
  • If you were baptized Catholic, but have not received the other Sacraments of initiation (Confirmation and Eucharist)

RCIA sessions begin in the Fall. If you or someone you know, is interested in finding out more, please feel free to call or email Theresa Collin at (989) 330-5394 or

The four stages of OCIA:

  1. Pre-Catechumenate - A time for reflection about your personal story with a deeper awareness of God’s action in your life. A time for discovering whether the Catholic Church is the place for you to practice your faith. A sponsor journeys with the candidate throughout the OCIA process.
  2. Catechumenate -  This is a period of study and reflection in which participants will deepen their faith and commitment to the gospel way of life. They will “Break open the word” by attending Mass together. After the homily the presider calls them forward, blesses them, and a Catechist leads them out to continue to partake of God’s word while the initiating community partakes of the Eucharist. 
  3. Purification and Enlightenment - This period occurs during Lent and is marked by intense spiritual preparation and prayer before celebrating the sacraments of initiation- Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist - at the Easter Vigil.
  4. Mystagogia - the fourth stage means “to savor the mysteries.” This period occurs during the 50 days of celebration from Easter to Pentecost. The new Catholic Christians reflect on the Easter Sacraments.

Rites that mark or celebrate the various stages of the OCIA

  • The Rite of Acceptance - Assembling publicly for the first time at Mass, the “inquirers” make known their decision to become Catholic; the parish family welcomes them.
  • The Rite of Sending - The parish family, with love and support, send forth the catechumens (those who are to be baptized, confirmed and receive First Eucharist) and the candidates (those to be received into full communion and celebrate Confirmation and First Eucharist) to meet and be welcomed as those ready to celebrate the sacraments of initiation by the bishop at St. Mary Cathedral in Saginaw.
  • The Rite of Election - At the beginning of Lent the catechumens are welcomed to the larger Catholic Church in the Rite of Election by the bishop at the cathedral.
  • The Rite of Continuing Conversion - At the beginning of Lent the candidates are welcomed to the larger Catholic Church and are called to a continuing conversion by the bishop at the cathedral.

The Scrutinies  - The scrutinies take place during Lent. The initiating community prays over the Elect that all that is good in their lives will be strengthened and all that is harmful or sinful will be removed.