Welcome! We are thrilled that you are interested in the Catholic Church!

What is OCIA?

The Order of Christian Initiation is a process that assists people in becoming members of the Roman Catholic Church. The process focuses on the spiritual formation of the person through the handing on the rich faith tradition of the Catholic Church.

Who is OCIA for?

  • Some are already Christians from other traditions attracted by the teaching of the Catholic Church and by the example of individual Catholics they know.
  • Some are from another faith or no faith at all who have heard about Jesus, His claim to forgive sin and His promise of eternal life.
  • Some are non-Catholics who have been coming regularly to Mass for years with their Catholic relatives. They wish now to become full members of the Church.
  • Some have had no previous contact with the Church at all but have this inner calling to discover the truth about the most important questions of life.
  • The program is also for Catholics who missed out on the sacraments as children.

If any of the above situations applies to you , then the OCIA program is for you.

What is the first step?

The OCIA sessions begin in September and continues through mid May, which most people find doable. However St. Joseph does welcome inquiries about being Catholic throughout the year. Please call or email the parish office if you are considering OCIA.

What to expect:

Since the OCIA process is about conversion to Jesus Christ and His message, it is appropriate that persons have a suitable amount of time for reflection and study. You can expect to receive an understanding of Catholic beliefs and practices, to experience the parish community through Mass and parish events, and to build strong, lasting friendships through one to one sharing of faith in the weekly sessions. Some people will need more time than others in the process of becoming Catholic for a multitude of reasons. OCIA is about assisting people in their faith journey and the OCIA group is committed to the people and the process of initiation.

It is essential for anyone who is thinking about becoming Catholic to have some experience of attending Mass on Sundays. Those who have attended Mass for several weeks, months and/or years might have a greater inclination to join the Catholic Church. The richness of the Catholic faith and tradition has a depth and breadth that needs to be explained and experienced.

OCIA begins with several weeks of inquiry sessions in September each year followed by a more lengthy study of Catholic doctrine. The process is marked by stages and periods so that participants are gradually immersed in the life of the Church. St. Joseph parishioners are invited to also participate as companions and sponsors to those who inquire about becoming Catholic. In fact, the Church believes no one comes to faith alone and throughout the ages godparents have accompanied their godchildren for baptism. OCIA usually meets on Wednesday evenings from 7:00-9:00 PM.


  1. What if someone wants to learn about being Catholic but is unsure if they really want to convert? Is the OCIA process the best path?
    • Yes, it is. The OCIA process is meant to share the beauty of Catholicism with anyone with a genuine interest in the Catholic faith so they can discover if becoming Catholic is the life-long choice they wish to make.
  2. Does everyone need a sponsor? Who can be a sponsor?
    • Yes, everyone does need a sponsor who can make the same weekly commitment to attending the OCIA sessions and hopefully is also a St. Joseph or Holy Trinity parishioner. Part of the immersion into the Church is getting involved in parish life that is more easily facilitated by a St. Joseph/Holy Trinity parishioner. Most times a spouse wishes to be a sponsor and that is desirable and suitable. However, the process strongly suggests that another person volunteer if possible to be the sponsor because this allows the participant to have a new connection in faith to the Church. Those persons engaged or preparing to marry are not encouraged to be the sponsor for their intended because the Church wishes for each person to decide to become Catholic without pressure.

OCIA Testimonials:

“As a sponsor, I learned more in two hours once a week at RCIA than I ever imagined. I found out what my purpose in life is and the true meaning of LOVE. In as little as seven months, I was amazed how we formed a whole new family, our RCIA family. It was very rewarding watching everyone grow and learn a whole new meaning of love through sacrifice.
I can honestly say I go to Mass now and really stay focused on the true presence of Christ. RCIA is only the beginning. It will definitely make you hunger and thirst for more!”

– Sandy Keller (Sponsor)

“As these classes came to an end, I realized we, as a group learning about the faith, had forged friendships and our Wednesday nights would seem somewhat hollow without the weekly enrichment of our faith. If you know someone who has an interest in learning about the Catholic faith, please encourage them to attend the RCIA classes. If you wish to strengthen your own faith, offer to walk along beside them.”

– Amy Frizzell (Sponsor)

“The people-candidates, sponsors, religious, and all others that take their time to come and share their lives and journeys in the faith! There are friendships and bonds made that last a lifetime.”

– Diana Bloomfield (Sponsor)