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Becoming a Catholic (OCIA)

You are invited to find out more about the Roman Catholic Church by participating in the Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA). The OCIA provides doctrinal and spiritual formation for those desiring to enter the Catholic Church. Through prayer, study, and discipleship, it allows each person to learn more about their journey of faith and leads to full participation in the Roman Catholic Church through the celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation at Easter. 

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming Catholic kindly contact the St. Mary Office about our Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA) in English, or the St. Francis Office for classes in Spanish.


Who can join OCIA?

OCIA is for anyone who is not Catholic but is interested in becoming Catholic or in simply learning more about the Catholic faith. It is also for those who were baptized Catholic but who were not raised Catholic and would now like to participate in the life of the Church and receive the other sacraments. If you were raised Catholic and are desirous of receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation, please inquire about our Adult Confirmation preparation.

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What is involved?

OCIA participants are asked to:

  1. Attend weekly meetings to explore Catholic beliefs and practices, reviewing relevant material beforehand in preparation.

  2. Begin attending Mass and developing a life of prayer.

  3. Get to know the parish community by participating in the groups, activities, and events that interest them.

  4. Meet individually with one of the priests several times during the course of the year to update him on their experience of OCIA and their thoughts about joining the Catholic Church.

  5. Participate in the various rituals that mark the stages of the OCIA journey, as they become sure of their desire to enter the Church.

  6. If already baptized, provide record of such.

  7. Choose a Sponsor to accompany and assist you on your journey into the Church.

  8. Choose a patron saint.


What is a Sponsor?

A Sponsor is a Catholic that supports and mentors an OCIA candidate during the course of OCIA.


Sponsors therefore should be faithful Catholics who live out the Gospel in their daily lives. Each OCIA candidate chooses his or her sponsor. If a candidate does not know other Catholics, the parish is happy to provide a sponsor. Further guidance about choosing a sponsor will be given at the beginning of OCIA.


When do classes begin?

A big part of OCIA is a weekly meeting, which typically begin each September. Special accommodations can be made for those who cannot meet the regular schedule.

​For more information, please contact the St. Mary Office for classes in English or the St. Francis Office for classes in Spanish.



"Joining the church has been the best part of my life during the past year and RCIA* at St. Mary's was a great piece of that experience. Very welcoming and educational!"
– Nick 2020

​“It was truly a journey of faith for me converting from Buddhism to the Catholic faith. My wife who is Catholic inspired me to become Catholic also. There is so much to learn about the Catholic faith, the Catholic Church, and its teachings. Knowing that if I make mistakes in life, the Church will forgive me, and it gives me hope for the future. It’s a most comforting feeling to know and to have. I learned something new at each of the weekly meetings. Have to thank Father Kenney and Father Leo for their time, efforts, teaching and comments to help me understand and learn about our Catholic faith and finally to become a member of the Church.” – Shunichi 2020


“RCIA* is the rite I didn't know I needed but am ever grateful that I experienced, as it afforded me not only a spiritual but intellectual introduction–or rather re-introduction–to a faith I wouldn't otherwise have had the discipline to cultivate. That I was able to explore doctrine and theology in the company of others who were seeking God in a seemingly secular world made this past year all the more meaningful.”
​– Caitlin 2020

* The Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (OCIA) used to be known as the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).

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